Giancarlo Fedeli

Giancarlo Fedeli

The plan was set up from the beginning: after the field trip to the three destinations, Melbourne, Cambodia and Bali, I would have headed back down under to delve into this country that fascinated me since childhood. My intention was combining the duty and challenge of undertaking my own research thesis, with the delight and excitement to be able to live in Australia, a land as distant as hankered by many. Thus, I packed my stuff once more, invigorated by an extended stay in Bali yet after strenuously weathering the tempting decoying of the small Indonesian gem’s character.. I eventually made it!

“There is nothing like Australia” the slogan launched by Tourism Australia claims and to be frank … I have to admit that nothing is more appropriate than this motto! The lure of Australia lies in the stunning assortment of natural attractions of this country; iconic spots such as the hallowed Aboriginal monolith rock Uluru in the red central Outback of Australia, the Great barrier reef and its coral beach islands, the northern rain forests, the wine regions of NSW and Victoria, the one of a kind wildlife make the country a unique miscellany of attractions, along with the ancient 60.000 year-old native settlements and the more recent  European ones, nowadays grown into the so called Big Smokes (Aussie lingo for cities as Sydney and Melbourne). What more I was struck with, has been the meticulous organization and tidiness of the places I visited during the first month of my stay; the attention to detail, the quality of services and infrastructures is flawless and the support provide to visitors are noteworthy. Even the placid koalas seem to be trained for tourists, kangaroos and wallabies created by a deity of tourism who knew how to contribute to the exceptionality of the country. Australia’s structured and functional tourism structure that includes a variety of state, territorial and regional organizations, along with associations, councils and tourism research centers, all under control of the government agency, is the clear sign of an important sector for the country’s economy.

Thus, after a short appearance back in the chilly Melbourne, as a migratory bird or the most skilled backpacker, I  flew to Brisbane to meet with some of my Banana benders friends (an extravagant term to call a person from Queensland – as far as I know, not offensive), and got over the pleasant resorts of Surfers’ Paradise, Byron Bay, Noosa and the Sunshine Coast to eventually end up in Sydney and literally be infatuated with it. It must be the cosmopolitan, lively and cultural personality of this hectic business city combined with the outdoorsy character of it, due a mild climate for the most part of the year… stunning beaches just 20 minutes away from the city, a vivacious night life and events running all year round are a motive to keep habitants entertained and attract visitors 365 days a year; in fact a progression of sport multicultural, art and lifestyle events show how dynamic and active the city management operates. This fervent tourism buzz certainly attracts travelers and provide them with a wide range of options and pull factors, stimulating them  to visit Sydney and the rest of Australia.

In the last decades the relationship between China and Australia has grown stronger, due to economic reasons. China has experienced the fastest and most astonishing economy growth along with the outbound wave of tourists who are increasingly travelling outside the country, with higher income at their disposal. From destinations’ point of view, China has become an important source market for Australia, replacing markets like Japan as primary inbound markets. Estimates are bright for the tourism industry and see China exponentially growing  in the next 20-25 years – warding off any sort of crisis. The actuality of the subject along with the tourism potential that the Chinese outbound market represents caught my attention; thus, the focus of my thesis research looks at the segment of Mainland Chinese leisure tourists who, specifically are characterized by an affluent travelling behavior in Sydney, as a destination.

Although language and cultural barriers may represent an obstacle to the research, my interest and motivation have gone beyond those; a smile to break the ice among the approached tourists’ distrust and doubt, and gadget as mark of gratitude have resulted  to be a winning strategy. Last but not least, I must mention Ri, my Chinese friend, and his precious support during the interview sessions.  Ri (whose Chinese meaning is very intelligent) just warned me: “Mate, I will give you a hand only if when you are asked by someone about noodles…you tell them that you Italians stole them from us!”. I had no choice, caught in the middle, with deep regret, I had to take him up on that. I could experience on my skin, the great power of China.