What Fuels Australia’s Flood of Chinese Tourists?

As Australia’s tourism sector continues to flourish, one country’s tourists are stealing the show. After taking a look at the statistics, it’s no secret that tourism is booming in Australia. In 2016 alone, Australia received a whopping 8.2412 million tourists. This was 10.6% more than the previous year, and the tourism sector is scrambling to cater to this bonanza. Currently one in twenty Australians work in the tourism industry, which pumps a staggering $53 billion into the local economy. While this transition may be shocking, one of the biggest factors in this shift is the rise in Chinese tourists.

China has always been a strong trading partner with Australia, but recently this relationship has gotten noticeably more intimate. Ever since 2013, Chinese tourists surged from 285,000 visitors a year to 1.4566 million in 2016. As a result, this was a 15.1% increase from 2015 and dethroned New Zealand as the number one source of tourists in Australia.

2017 China Australia Year of Tourism

Nurturing this relationship has become a priority for the government, by making 2017 “China-Australia Year of Tourism”. With 580,000 Aussies currently working in the tourism sector, this isn’t surprising. Chinese tourists currently contribute $9 billion to the local economy, but experts are predicting a drastic increase. If tourism continues to grow at this current pace, Chinese tourists will add $53 billion to Australia’s economy by 2020.

This staggering amount of investment is enough to get anyone curious about the future of Australia’s relationship with China. While this may be a shock to some, anyone who’s been paying attention to Australia’s tourism industry has already adapted. While most people are oblivious to them, several factors are fueling the growth of Chinese visitors in Australia. These developments are becoming too lucrative to ignore, which is why we decided to highlight them in this article. Here are the reasons to keep an eye on China’s impact on Australia’s tourism industry!

How China Took Over Australia’s Tourism Industry

Factor #1: Increased Airlines

Chinese Tourists
Chinese tourists are falling head over heels for Australia.

The influx of tourist goes both ways, and a growing number of airlines are scrambling to cater to them. Over 720,000 Aussies visit China each year, which has paved the way for new Chinese airline companies. There are now more Chinese airlines flying to and from Australia than any other country on the planet. Not including companies based in Hong Kong, 7 Chinese carriers operate in Australia. This increased availability of flights has caused prices to plummet for travelers.

Another plus of having more airlines is direct access to more cities in mainland China. Thirteen cities have direct links to Australia, which opens doors for Chinese citizens in lesser known parts of the country. China’s secondary cities are hotbeds for more visitors, so the amount of tourists is bound to grow.

Factor #2: Lax Visa Restrictions

Chinese Tourists
Out of all the groups of tourists visiting China, one stands out.

To nurture the relationship between the two countries, China and Australia have loosened visa restrictions. In 2017, Australia unveiled 10-year multi-entry visas for Chinese tourists. This new legislation aims to drastically boost repeat visits, and to a certain degree, the favour has been reciprocated. China extended their visa-free transit policies in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong & Zhejiang from 72 hours to six days. This transforms these cities into the perfect stopover options for Aussies travelling to Europe.

About the author

Nathaniel Mansfield