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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Economist challenge Pacific Islands to look towards China rising market

A senior Australian economist has challenged Fiji, and other Pacific Island countries, to work towards 'grabbing' a large portion of the tourist market in China as it is growing dramatically.

Andrew Hanlan of Westpac in Sydney said this was one country with strong rising income and an increasing trend of Chinese tourists travelling abroad, who could very well be potential tourists to Fiji and other countries in the region.

Hanlan said Chinese tourists to Australia had continuously increased over the years recording a market share of 15 per cent.

On the other hand, he said the number of Australians traveling abroad had increased sharply with expectations of the Aussie dollar to stay high over the next year or more.

"Certainly, even though I think Australian consumer spending will be a little more subdued, I will still expect to see a lot of Australians travelling abroad," Hanlan told close to 300 delegates at the 36th Fiji Institute of Accountants annual congress, held at the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort.

He said a lot of Australian tourists travelled largely to Fiji and Oceania countries in the region, and the market shares by these Pacific countries had been fairly stable.

"There are more Australians travelling abroad, so there are certainly opportunities. I think the challenge for Oceania and Fiji in the region is to try and capture a bigger share of that as well," Hanlan said.

He also highlighted the rising income in China.

"There is a massive change in the mix of people coming to Australia. And if we look at arrivals of our tourists to Australia from abroad, we see that China has risen. The number of arrivals has increased by 15 per cent last year," Hanlan said.

"So, arrivals overall, fairly sluggish in Australia, no big surprise but China, it's a massive growth market so you really need to be doing business with China not just in terms of exports, but they have got rising incomes," he explained.

"You can also see the market share of (Chinese) people coming into Australia as tourists has increased quite dramatically and that will continue to grow. Whereas Japan, you can actually see a downward movement.

"So the rising income in most developing economies is really changing the pace for growth," Hanlan said.


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