Sydney Airport chief wants more share of Chinese tourist market

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-01 12:14:08|Editor: Yang Yi
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SYDNEY, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Despite a 13 percent rise in the number of Chinese visitors over the past year to March, Sydney Airport Chief Executive Geoff Culbert believes Australia should still be doing more to capitalize on the 80 million Chinese tourists who travel abroad every year.

"I've lived 10 years in Asia, in Tokyo and Hong Kong, and I've seen the ambition of other nations and I feel like sometimes we're a bit too comfortable," he told The Australian Newspaper on Thursday.

"I don't think we're playing to win; I think we're playing not to lose."

"I'd like to see us as a country recapture some of that pioneering spirit that made us so great in the 1970s, 80s and 90s when we grew rapidly, and I'd like us as a nation to have that sort of ambition."

With 1.3 million visitors from China during the year to March, the figure is expected to rise to around 3.3 million by the year 2026, according to the Australia China Business Council.

While this is a substantial jump, it will still leave Australia outside the top 10 countries visited by Chinese travellers.

For Culbert, he believes more could be done to lift Australia's position a travel destination, accusing Australian tourism industry of resting on their laurels when it comes to attracting the lucrative Chinese tourist market.

"I'll go to events and people still talk about the Sydney Olympics, which was wonderful, but it was nearly 20 years ago," he said.

"Let's do something that's really meaningful, that's going to rewrite our history."

One area in particular that Culbert feels needs to be improved is the country's lack of a "night-time economy".

"We like to project ourselves as a cutting-edge global international city but when you go out at 10 or 11 o'clock at night and there's not much going on, we need to start asking ourselves: Do we want to compete globally?" he said.