The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns has been announced as the first hotel to be accredited to Accor’s new Optimum Service Standards for Chinese Visitation, paving the way for the hotel to attract greater numbers of Chinese visitors to North Queensland.
The formal accreditation follows this week’s announcement in Cairns by Federal Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson, of a new 10-year strategic plan aimed at boosting China’s inbound tourism to Australia. He extolled the tourism industry to more actively cater for the Chinese market, which is the fastest growing inbound market for Australia, and already worth over $3 billion a year to the economy.
Earlier this year, Accor – Australia’s largest hotel group with 150 hotels under brands such as Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel and Mercure – announced that it would implement an Optimum Services Standards program for hotels in its group that aimed to attract large-scale visitation from the Chinese and Indian markets. It involved hotels implementing a wide range of services to cater for the specific needs of these two growth markets, and only hotels that met (and maintained) these standards would be accredited to pitch for this business.
Recognising the potential of Chinese inbound for the Cairns and Tropical North Queensland markets, the Pullman has led the way with adopting services to meet the needs of the emerging China market. These include translation of in-room collateral and the Welcome Kit to Mandarin, Mandarin speaking staff available to handle guest queries, all reception staff trained to give basic greetings in Mandarin, Chinese breakfast and mini-bar items, green tea and comfort items such as slippers.
In addition, the Pullman has implemented training for all staff on Chinese cultural practices, so that they can better understand the specific needs and requirements of Chinese travelers.
Commenting on the accreditation, Pullman General Manager, Adrian Williams, said that he was very pleased that his hotel was playing a pioneering role in the national push for more Chinese inbound tourists.
“The growth in Chinese inbound isn’t new, but the pace of the growth highlights the need for the industry to really look at what is being provided for Chinese travelers and to enhance the offer, because this market represents a significant future for our tourism industry,” said Mr Williams.
“Many of the measures under the Optimum Service Standards program are fairly straightforward, but it sends a strong signal to Chinese operators that Australia is not only welcoming their clients, but going out of their way to ensure they feel as comfortable as possible when they are here.
“Cairns and far North Queensland have so much potential for this market. The Great Barrier Reef is the primary draw-card, but Cairns has many other attractions – natural and man-made – that our ideal for Chinese tourists. The climate is appealing, our infrastructure is well developed, there is good shopping and entertainment, high quality restaurants, and our prices are very competitive.
“It was very encouraging that Tourism Minister Ferguson chose Cairns to launch the new China strategy here in Cairns, so it is now up to us operators to translate the strategy into action on the ground.
“The Optimum Service Standards will hopefully lead other North Queensland operators to follow suit and really look at the specific needs of Chinese travelers.”
Pullman Reef Casino Cairns is the largest hotel, tourism and entertainment complex in Far North Queensland, offering 5-star accommodation, the award-winning Tamarind restaurant, the Cairns Wildlife Dome (where visitors can view Australian wildlife icons such as kangaroos, koalas and crocodiles), a range of cafes, bars and shopping, and the Reef Casino.