It’s no secret that I love Sydney. Call me biased but I really think it has something for everyone. The historic Rocks area, flanked by our beautiful harbour, the beaches, the nearby blue mountains, amazing shopping and weather…. I could keep going. I recently discussed the role that International students and education in keeping our city vibrant and beautiful, but education is just one element that is key to Sydney’s ongoing success.
It was with some disappointment that I recently read in the SMH (link) that Australia (and Sydney as a national leader in tourism), has now been ranked 17th as a tourism destination by Chinese travellers.
According to Kevin Xu, General manager of General City Tours, “Five-star hotels look too old, service is not so good and prices are high for what you get’’.
Coming from the services industry as a cafe operator, I know all too well how important tourism is to our business and what a difference international visitors can make to our local economy.
China has rapidly transitioned to consumer based economy, and Australian services need to catch up. During the recent local government elections, I put forward a tourism plan that I believe would help combat the adversities that Sydney, and by extension Australia, face when competing for the international tourist dollar. You can read the full plan here.
Sydney is recognised as a safe and secure destination for international visitors but more must be done to ensure we continue to improve the standard of business and leisure travel.
The plan was based around 5 main goals.
1. The roll out of comprehensive smart cities platforms, including the availability of wifi for travellers. Anyone who has recently travelled overseas will see how many cities are rolling out wifi. We also need to be doing this asap.
2. The development and enhancement of travel within the City of Sydney (and by extension once again, the rest of Sydney).
3. Encourage the development of more 3 and 4 star hotels. This report goes some way to supporting this notion indicating that Chinese visitors are more likely to book 3 or 4 star hotels when they travel. Sydney does not have enough of this type of accommodation.
4. Introduction of digital initiatives to improve the visitor experience including wayfinding.
5. Finally, and perhaps most directly targeted at Chinese Tourism efforts; return the Chinese New Year Parade and develop further activities that attract local and global visitors.
Tourism is such an important issue and we can’t be complacent. I would be interested in hearing your ideas to make sure that Sydney remains a ‘must visit destination’ for international travellers. Over to you……….