How a Chinese TV show brought $500 million to Perth and West Australia

Pink Lake in Western Australia. Image: Just Another Day in WA

Perth, the beautiful capital of Western Australia, it is not as internationally famous as Sydney or Melbourne. However, it is really worth a visit. The special pink lakes, the Quokka – a kind of small wallaby which is the size of a cat – and the beautiful Swan River with mysterious black swans.

Now though a very popular Chinese variety show called Viva La Romance, and chose Western Australia as a film location. Its broadcast has not only enhanced the popularity of Perth and its home state, but also promises to boost tourism from China. The West Australian estimates that it delivered the equivalent of a $500 million advertising campaign to WA.

Perth ‘s West Australian newspaper. Image: The West Australian 

Viva La Romance is one of the biggest reality television shows in China. In China, a number of reality shows have been launched in recent years, and these shows always invite some stars, perhaps actors, singers, athletes or civilian stars. Some of these programs will bring these people together in one place, letting everyone joined in some activities and using the star effect to attract more viewers. The interesting phenomenon is that recorded spots appearing on the show always becoming popular tourist attractions.

Viva la Romance is the travelogue variety show, talking about the traveling stories of four women, and also their husbands will sit together watching the videos with some remote interaction. It is really fun that not only the stars who participated in the show let them learn more about themselves and their other half, the audience can also realize the daily life of the stars and teaching something between couples.

This TV show is made by Hunan TV,which is one of the biggest and most popular broadcasters in China. There are more than 1.6 billion people attracted into the first season of Viva La Romance after the four-day shoot of season two. In addition, this is not the first time Hunan TV making TV shows in Australia. WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the Where Are We Going, Dad? reality TV series, a Chinese show shot in Margaret River in 2015, had attracted 241 million viewers with an advertising value of $347 million.

According Tourism Research Australia, China is the main market for the Australian travel industry. No matter the total visit numbers or the total trip spend, China is the first ranking visitor source. It is worth mentioning that in the charts of total trip spend of international, the number of China is nearly three times as many as the United States which country is ranking second. Here are the specific data of total trip spend and numbers of international visitors in Australia.

Total trip spend of international visitors in Australia, Image: Tourism Research Australia
Number of International visitors in Australia. Image: Tourism Research Australia

The facts prove that the Australian government should strengthen its promotion to the Chinese market if they would like to vigorously develop tourism. The TV shows like Viva La Romance is undoubtedly a suitable and effective way. There are a lot of audiences want to travel to the same place in the TV show after they watched it. “I just traveled to Perth last month, and I just know there was such a beautiful and interesting place in Australia because of Viva La Romance. By the way, the Quokkas are so cute!”, said by Beibei Li, a Chinese girl who is a big fan of Hunan TV.

The Screenshot of Viva La Romance. Image: Hunan TV

Viva la Romance already became one of the Super Topics on Weibo, the reading number of the topic already reached 4.63 billion, and there are 11,000 posts related to the topic, 13,000 people are continually paying attention to the topic. No matter on TV or other social media platforms, Viva la Romance has attracted a large number of audience, indirectly made the places appeared in the TV show popular which is good for the travel industry.

The reading number, related posts number and followers’ number of Viva La Romance on Weibo.

Keita, who correctly works in a travel agency in the Chinatown of Sydney, is primarily booking the flights, hotels and also planning the routes for the tourists. With the development of technology and social media, more and more people choose to plan their trip by themselves, they would like to choose their destination, transportation, hotels and also the restaurants. Because of the different languages, some people will ask a travel agency to make the plan and also help them make the bookings.

“Recently, most tourism agencies started to promote Perth to customers, and make a similar travel plan of Viva La Romance.” Keita also said that because of the popularity of the show, some customers would like to do the same thing in the TV show, like skydiving. And they will give some suggestions of nearby places if they don’t have enough time for traveling to Perth. But why Viva La Romance choose Perth as the filming location? It is accidental?

The reason of why Viva La Romance choose Perth and Western Australia as the filming location. Image: ABC South West WA

The facts approved that the TV show is a planned and definitely successful promotion. The minister of Travel department said: “57,000 Chinese visitors come to Western Australia each year and spent $271 million, making China the state’s largest international visitor market by spend.” Mr. Paul also said that he hopes to increase more flights from China to Western Australia, and the Travel department would like to have more cooperation with Chinese agents in the future, it should be a suitable way to develop Western Australia tourism.

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