Dr Young Ng is the Principal Geoscientist of Danxiashan UNESCO Global Geopark of China. He is a pioneer in geotourism, geological heritage conservation and geoparks in the Asia Pacific region and has been awarded various medals for his contributions including the Hong Kong Government’s Medal of Honour in 2012. He is the proposer and advocator of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Young is experienced in planning, nomination, assessment and revalidation of geoparks and world heritage sites since 2006. He co-authored the ‘Principles of Geotourism’ in 2015 and the ‘Dictionary of Geotourism’ in 2019. His research interests include geotourism, geological heritage conservation, geoparks and sustainable development. Young is currently a member of the advisory committee of the National Geotourism Strategy Reference Group of Australian Geoscience Council, a member of the Geotourism Standing Committee of the Geological Society of Australia and a founding member of the Geotourism Forum of Ecotourism Australia.
Post-Pandemic Geotourism: Why do Chinese Tourists Matter?
In 2019, Australia received 9.4 million visitors, an average of 780,000 per month. It dropped 99% to only 7,600 visitors in July 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of August 2020, there is an obvious decrease in new cases and re-opening of state and international borders is therefore foreseeable. This destructive blow to the overall Australia’s tourism industry is unprecedented, especially to ecotourism which Australia is always proud to present. As recovery measure, apart from encouraging local Australians to travel domestically, it is important to be prepared to attract international visitors as soon as the pandemic turmoil is settled and international travel turns safe. With the USA and Europe still struggling to combat the pandemic, China stands out as the most promising market Australia tourism industry can turn to for immediate boost. The country has the fastest recovery from the pandemic and the people are ready to travel, provided international travel restrictions are lifted. China is Australia’s largest tourism market with 1.45 million visitors and spending over A$12.4 billion in 2019, far higher than any other countries such as New Zealand, USA, UK, Japan and India in terms of visitor number and expenditure. Australia’s unique natural landscape, wildlife, culture and its offer of a sense of wilderness and vastness, are certainly the greatest attractions. Chinese tourists matter in the overall recovery of Australia’s tourism industry. This presentation will discuss the approaches and challenges of geotourism as a tool to reopen the Chinese ecotourism market in the post-pandemic period.