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.

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