Aussie restaurants start to use Chinese language menus to attract tourists

By on February 15, 2017

Photo: Restaurant & Catering/Facebook
Photo: Restaurant & Catering/Facebook

CANBERRA—More Australian restaurants, cafes and wineries should offer Chinese language menus to capture a larger slice of the immense Chinese outbound tourist market, the deputy CEO of Restaurant and Catering Australia (RCA) told Xinhua on Wednesday.

RCA’s Sally Neville said she has noticed that some Australian restaurants were offering Mandarin menus in an attempt to draw more Chinese tourists into their businesses.

Neville said savvy Australian retailers should begin to follow suit, following a revelation that a record number of Chinese tourists visited Australia in 2016.

On Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said a record 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Australia in 2016, making China Australia’s second-largest inbound tourism market behind New Zealand.

“In destinations where there are already significant numbers of Chinese tourists, the recognition of their contribution is already seen. It’s clear there is a (place) for translated menus,” Neville told Xinhua.

Neville said she would encourage Australian restaurants, particularly tourist hotspots, to implement more strategies to draw a greater proportion of the not only 1.2 million Chinese visitors already visiting Australia, but of the overall 125 million Chinese visitors who visit overseas countries each year.

“Tapping into the increase in demand from the Chinese will make Australia a preferred location for Chinese visitors which will convert to spending,” she said.

“The 1.2 million visitor figure is great, but there are 125 million outbound Chinese tourists each year, so ideally Australia will become better at attracting them and gain more than our fair share of that number.”

“The potential for Australia to grow the economic benefit from that activity is immense.”

Earlier in the week, Neville told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that, aside from being Chinese language-friendly, businesses could do more to make Chinese visitors feel more comfortable in their restaurants and cafes.

She said she had heard of some restaurants who had offered staff training in order to make sure employees were culturally aware of differing customs.

“Some restaurants have introduced translated menus, but they have also trained their staff in the kinds of eating that the Chinese visitors enjoy, usually communal dining,” Neville said.

“Also (important) is a respect of the oldest person on the table. Wait staff are now ensuring they defer to them despite the fact a younger person may have better English.”

Neville told Xinhua it was an exciting time for Australia’s hospitality sector, particularly in tourist hotspots.

“If there is demand, (restaurant operators) will identify the opportunity of becoming for China-friendly,” Neville said.

“In the wine regions, we are seeing a spike in visitation so the larger venues are already attracting the Chinese market. I am confident that others will follow.”