China ‘not a tourism saviour'
A PUSH to attract more Chinese tourists to the Gold Coast will not be enough to rescue the region's tourism industry, according to Dreamtime Resorts director Garry McKenzie.
He said while Chinese visitors should be made welcome, it was unlikely smaller tourism operators would benefit as the Chinese have a tendency to travel in controlled packaged group tours and "won't be buying a pie at the corner store".
Mr McKenzie said focusing on one country was short-sighted and could damage the Gold Coast's domestic and New Zealand markets.
"The heart of our tourism industry is and always will be the serviced apartments, motel and camping-ground operators; the people who cater to the mum, dad and the kids who have always been our bread-and-butter business," Mr McKenzie said.
"Our international market is primarily fed from New Zealand and I don't see China becoming our key overseas visitor source.
"New Zealanders have a special affinity for the Gold Coast.
"They certainly embrace our lifestyle and blend in with everyone here."
He said Chinese tourists were less likely to support smaller businesses and would stick to big hotel chains.
"The small operators won't see them and the money they spend will likely stay within the high-end, big-ticket places," Mr McKenzie said. "Let's not sacrifice our bread-and-butter markets to chase the big overseas markets.
"China would be very welcome but on its own it's not going to be the saviour of our tourism industry."