Tourists want more time to shop

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) says a new report revealing that Chinese tourists would prefer shops to close later in WA is further evidence that deregulated trading hours are needed urgently.

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) report reveals that Chinese visitors spend an estimated $291 million a year in WA and ‘frequently suggest’ that shops staying open until 6.30pm would enhance their stay. Many also suggested longer trading hours on Sundays.

The report reveals that 75 per cent of Chinese visitors to WA are aged between 20 and 40, with 35 per cent aged between 25 and 29.

International travel, the report says, is still deemed a luxury in China so most visitors are wealthy and spend close to $500 per night’s stay in WA.

CCI has repeatedly called on the McGowan Government to follow the lead of other states and territories which have either totally, or significantly, deregulated retail trading hours.

It says deregulation will lower prices for consumers, create convenience and more jobs for West Australians and boost economic growth.

“This report reveals that WA’s lag in deregulating trading hours is costing the state millions of dollars a year in lost spending,” CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham said.

“If we want to attract tourists from around the world and allow our bricks and mortar retailers to be competitive in the global online environment they need to be able to decide for themselves when to open their doors.

“The Government doesn’t tell online retailers to turn off their websites at 5pm so why should we tell Australian bricks and mortar retailers to shut their doors.”

Lead BCEC report author Cecilia Xia said Chinese visitors surveyed for the report said they often filled their days with day trips away from Perth city and expected to spend the early evening shopping before eating out for dinner.

“Extending retail trading hours to 6.30pm during the week would allow more time for travellers to shop during the limited time they spend in Perth,” Xia said.

Most popular spots, food and accommodation

The report also used spatial mapping to reveal a distinct pattern of Chinese visitor travel in the state, highlighting the areas WA could focus on increasing tourism infrastructure.

“A triangle of travel is noticeable, with Perth at the centre and points extending out to iconic Western Australian landmarks including the Pinnacles, Busselton Jetty and Wave Rock. Beyond this area, Karijini National Park, the Murchison River, Kalgoorlie and Esperance were also popular,” Xia said.

According to their trip diaries, approximately 94 per cent of Chinese visitors stayed in WA less than 20 days, with trips under 10 days being taken by 64 per cent of all visitors.

Most preferred to eat traditional Western food during their WA stay, with fish and chips and barbecues the most popular meals. However, they also welcomed at least one familiar, home-style meal each day and noted a lack of choice of Asian food at regional attractions, even when it was known an Asian tour group was arriving.

The new trend of Airbnb was the most popular accommodation choice, with bed and breakfast a popular choice as well.

Perth city was the most popular destination for visitors from China – with Kings Park the top spot –   followed by Fremantle, Albany, Kalbarri, The Pinnacles and Margaret River.

The report also found that:

  • Most Chinese tourists arrived from Beijing but there were no direct flights between the Chinese capital and WA
  • Most travelled independently, organising their own itineraries and accommodation
  • Last year Chinese tourists were WA’s sixth largest market for visitors but the biggest spenders

You can read the full BCEC report here.

► As WA’s peak business advocate, CCI works to elevate the concerns of WA industry to key nationwide decision-makers. Find out more about our advocacy efforts here.

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