An agreement to create a new multi-entry visa to facilitate exchanges and closer links between China and Australia has been welcomed by peak accommodation industry body, Accommodation Australia.

During meetings this week between Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese, Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and premier, Li Qiang, leaders discussed ways to facilitate exchanges and closer links between people in the two countries.

In a joint statement, the governments of Australia and China, welcomed “the contribution of people-to-people exchanges to the bilateral relationship, including the increasing exchanges of students, tourists and business people following the lifting of border measures”.

The leaders agreed to the facilitation of exchanges, including the agreement to provide access to “three-to-five-year multi-entry visas” for visitors and business people on a reciprocal basis.

Speaking exclusively to HM, Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said the announcement of the Multi-Visa application for China and Australia is “a very positive outcome”.

“Whilst we are still yet to have received the final details, the improved opportunity for both countries tourists and families visiting friends and relatives (vfr) will be a win for driving accommodation demand and the visitor economy of Australia and China,” Johnson told HM.

“We are currently seeing the increase in direct flights back into Australia from the major China airlines and this new Multi-Visa process will allow convenience for travellers.”

Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) Australia CEO, Margy Osmond, said the new visa arrangement will make travel between the two countries “much easier and [will] encourage more Chinese tourists and students to visit Australia”.

“This is fantastic news, not just for local tourism operators, but for all other businesses, from retail to hospitality, who benefit from increased visitor numbers,” Osmond said.

“TTF raised the issue of visas when we were part of the Australia-China High Level Dialogue in Beijing in September this year. We’re very pleased both the Australian and Chinese Governments have listened to our plea for change.

“While China was Australia’s number one source market for international tourism pre-pandemic, arrival numbers are still well below pre-Covid levels. We hope these changes can help ease the way for more Chinese tourism to Australia and help our sector recover.”