Accommodation operators have welcomed the announcement of an extension to the visa pilot scheme which permits Chinese visitors to receive three-year online multiple entry visas.
“Last week’s announcement from Trade and Investment Minister, Andrew Robb, represents a show of support to the tourism and accommodation industries,” said Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Richard Munro.
A Deloitte report identified tourism as one of five super growth sectors over the next two decades, with the worldwide tourism industry being forecast to double in size during that time. Much of the growth will come from China with the outbound travel market expected to grow to 200 million by 2020.
“With the extraordinary growth and potential in Chinese visitors to Australia and the fierce competition for this lucrative market, it is critical to ensure that our visa systems are calibrated in such a way to ensure that Chinese visitors are able to access Australian tourism products with considerable ease,” Munro said.
“We are pleased to see that the Government has taken steps to facilitate the growth process via a series of initiatives that focus on visa reform, deregulation and maintaining Australia’s competitiveness on the global stage.
“This includes the recent Free Trade Agreement with China that will foster further opportunities for the accommodation sector through increased visitation via the tripling of air capacity between China and Australia, as well as promoting opportunities for key investments in tourism infrastructure.
“The Accommodation Association has been advocating for a more accessible tourist visa scheme for Chinese visitors for some time, so it is rewarding to see change embraced with the granting of an extension to the pilot,” Munro said.