About 150 people attended a workshop in Traralgon yesterday to help Gippsland businesses understand how to tap into the growing market of Chinese consumers and tourists visiting the region.
Asialink Business business development manager Thomas Day, who spoke at the event, said growth figures for Chinese tourists in Australia were about to explode.
"[China] either has or will soon take over New Zealand as the biggest ... market of international visitors. Within the next 10 years it's expected to triple in numbers," Mr Day said.
Mr Day, whose organisation is part of The University of Melbourne, said typically Chinese tourists would stay in Melbourne for a night and maybe take a daytrip to the Great Ocean Road or Phillip Island.
"It's just realising how you can attract visitors to stay an extra night beyond those attractions, say Phillip Island Nature Parks, how can you create those unique experiences and highlight the best of Gippsland," Mr Day said.
He said dealing with China was "infinitely complex", however, there was low-hanging fruit available.
"If you're an accommodation provider, how do you make small tweaks to your business to make it more China-friendly, whether that's simple things like having slippers available in rooms, having kettles or hot food options," Mr Day said.
Representatives from Alibaba Group and iSynergi Solutions, a Melbourne-based marketing company and global service partner for Alibaba.com offered insights into how Gippsland businesses could use the Alibaba web portal to reach customers overseas.
iSynergi Solutions director Kevin Lee said there were many opportunities for agricultural businesses in Gippsland to increase their sales with Alibaba.com because of the success of other food and beverage products on the platform.
"[In] regional Victoria, I believe ... there's a lot of potential, it's just a matter of doing it in the right manner," Mr Lee said.
He said before signing up to Alibaba, businesses could come to iSynergi, who would search the database to discover what kind of demand there was on the platform.