Australia’s Tourism Minister, Richard Colbeck, says the nation can expect a significant influx of Chinese visitors for the upcoming Lunar New Year.
“Measures to boost ties with Australia’s most valuable tourism market will pay dividends when Chinese or Lunar New Year brings a flood of visitors from 8 February,” he said.
“The traditional Chinese celebration, which this year welcomes the Year of the Monkey, is an important national holiday and a very popular time to travel with Australia high on the list of preferred destinations.
“Australia and China have always had a very strong relationship with people travelling between the two regularly for leisure, visiting family and friends, and to study – it is fantastic that so many Chinese visitors are choosing to celebrate in our country.
“Natural attractions are a top priority for Chinese tourists and we will showcase Australia’s clean environment and natural beauty by launching Tourism Australia’s new aquatic and coastal campaign during Australia Week in China (AWIC) 2016 in April this year.
“China is an extremely important market for Australia’s tourism industry and with over 100 million Chinese taking an international holiday last year and with this figure set to double by 2020, we have a great opportunity to show off our natural attractions to more Chinese holiday makers.
“Australia currently captures one per cent of this market and we are working hard to increase this with more targeted and innovative marketing strategies, such as Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia and Aquatic and Coastal campaigns.
“The number of Chinese visitors to Australia in a 12-month period hit 1 million for the first time in November 2015 and visitor spending doubled to more than AUD$7 billion.
“By 2020, Chinese overnight visitor expenditure is projected to contribute more than AUD$13 billion to Australia’s economy and the Government is working hard, along with the industry, to accommodate these growing numbers.
“Our streamlined visa applications will support continued growth in visitor numbers and the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) will increase the flow of funds to tourism infrastructure projects by raising screening thresholds for private Chinese investors.
“ChAFTA also allows Australian tourism service providers to operate in China’s domestic market, as well as design, build and operate hotels and restaurants on a wholly-owned basis.
“The government has developed a Work and Holiday Arrangement with China to boost demand for tourism services, and new air services arrangements with China that will triple the gateway capacity between Australia and China by the end of 2016.
“There will also be a dedicated tourism stream of AWIC 2016, helping tourism industry leaders make connections and learn more about this important market,” Colbeck said.