The Australian government has extended multiple entry visas to Chinese citizens from three to ten years in a move to better compete with the United States and Canada, who are also clamouring for more Asian tourists.
This new initiative is part of a deal in the landmark Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China (ChAFTA). In the agreement, it is stipulated that Chinese nationals are eligible for a ten year tourist visa, without working rights.
The Federal government hopes these developments will boost repeat visits from Chinese travellers. China is Australia’s top tourist source market and it is estimated that by 2020, more than 200 million Chinese people will be travelling to global destinations including Australia. The number of Chinese arrivals to Australia in the year to February topped 877,400, up 18.4 per cent on the previous year.
Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said the total agreement secures better market access for Australia to the world’s second largest economy, improves Australia’s competitive position in a rapidly growing market, promotes increased two-way investment and reduces import costs. It is a win for households and businesses alike, he said.
He also highlighted that research also showed that repeat Chinese visitors were more likely to venture to regional areas, which is an added incentive for local economies.
“Ongoing visa reform and deregulation was part of a broader effort to ensure our tourism and hospitality sector remains competitive in an increasingly crowded global tourism market,” he added.
Tourism and hospitality is one of Australia’s great financial pillars. It is the country’s largest services export, generating revenues worth over $30 billion, and directly or indirectly employs one million Australians, including large numbers in regional Australia.
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