ACROSS China is a network of more than 300 specialist travel agents who each know the price of a beer in an Aussie pub.
They have been through three levels of training – including a joint course with the Immigration Department – and taken a 380-question test which they had to get 80 per cent right.
“They have to know what the weather’s like – the reverse weather: you go to Australia in China’s summer and it’s winter down there,” says Tourism Australia’s China manager and chief representative, May Tang. “They have to know what the attractions are, availability of accommodation, how much for a beer in a pub, how to travel from one city to another, how to plan an itinerary for children.”
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Although Australian tourism officials work closely with Chinese carriers, they believe the decision by Qantas to re-establish its presence in China with a newly launched Shanghai service will prove a big plus in the battle to attract tourists from the populous nation’s growing middle class.
Qantas enters the ring and looks to dominate.