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Australia welcomes record one million visitors from China

January 13, 2016 Tourist Boards No Comments Email Email

Australia’s tourism industry is continuing its record smashing trend with annual Chinese visitor numbers hitting one million for the first time in data released by the ABS today.

China continues to be our fastest growing major source market, ahead of India with growth of 18.0 per cent for the same period. There were 177,900 more Chinese visitors in the year ending November 2015 than in the previous year (823,000), equating to growth of 21.6 per cent.

The Government has identified tourism as one of five key National Investment Priorities, leading to increased tourism infrastructure investment. We have, and will continue to, focus on targeted international marketing and undertaking visa reforms.

Our measures, such as opening a new Australian Visa Application Centre in Chengdu, China and streamlining visa application processes are making it easier for Chinese tourists to come to Australia, which will support continued growth into the future.

While the tourism industry is clearly thriving, there is still more work to be done to ensure we can cater for the increased demand into the future and to encourage tourists to visit our unique rural and regional areas.

China is a vitally important market for Australia’s tourism industry growth. Visitor arrivals from China grew three times faster than the overall increase in the past year, and spending increased 43 per cent – double the previous year’s growth rate.

China is now Australia’s most valuable tourism market, with Chinese visitors currently spending more than $7.7 billion annually. This includes $1.3 billion on shopping, which accounts for 37 per cent of all spending on shopping by international visitors to Australia.

Tourism Australia research shows Australia is the top long-haul ‘wish list’ destination for Chinese travellers, showing that our focused international marketing is paying dividends.

The strong growth in visitation from China is set to continue with Tourism Research Australia forecasts estimating arrivals to double to two million and their spending to grow 7 per cent per year to reach $13.7 billion by 2024–25.

The Government will be working hard to spread the benefits from the surge in tourists to all Australians through greater infrastructure investment and further streamlining visa and entry processes, leading to more job opportunities in regional Australia.

The full report is available on the ABS website.

Comments from Tourism Australia’s John O’Sulivan:

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said that that key to building a market now worth $7.7 billion annually to the Australian economy had been moving away from traditional group tours and aggressively targeting China’s rapidly emerging middle class.

“Tourism Australia’s marketing, distribution and partnership strategies are all now geared towards targeting this new breed of young, independent traveller with the desire and the financial means to explore our country. That’s where we are focusing our resources and I’m delighted to say that is what is driving these impressive results,” he said.

Tourism Australia has undertaken several recent initiatives to boost Chinese tourism such as building an elite network of travel agents in China who are specially trained to sell tour packages to high-yielding clients. In recent years, Tourism Australia has also signed major strategic marketing agreements with China’s largest carriers, including China Southern, China Eastern and Air China.

Mr O’Sullivan said those Australian tourism businesses which understood and were willing to adapt to the needs of Chinese visitors would derive the biggest benefits.

“We’ve gone to significant lengths to research and improve our understanding of our target consumer – their travel preferences and behaviour and the type of tourism experiences they are most looking for. The good news is that the industry is really starting to embrace this incredible opportunity by developing experiences which better meet the needs of the many Chinese visitors now flocking to our country,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Background figures ex China:

Historical arrivals:

.             2000 = 100k

.             2005 = 283k

.             2010 = 446k

.             2014 = 840k

.             Now = 1 Million

Spend trend:

.             2005 – $1.5B

.             2010 – $3.1B

.             2015 – $7.7B

  • China inbound visitation is Australia’s most valuable market, with Chinese visitors spending more than A$7.7bn annually
  • Under Tourism Australia’s long-term tourism strategy, the value of the China market was originally estimated to be between A$7.4 billion and A$9.0 billion a year by 2020. Annual spending has already exceeded the lower end of that original range, and more recent forecasts indicate the market could be worth up to $13 billion
  • Average annual growth of 21% since 2010
  • Year on year spending grew 43% last year  – double the previous 12 month’s growth rate
  • Chinese arrivals grew 2 to 3 times faster in 2015 than overall arrivals

For interviews with John Sullivan, MD for Tourism Australia, please contact Philip Engelberts on 0401 716 533

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