Following the signing of an Australia-China free trade agreement on the 17th of June, the Australian Federal Government has extended its three year multiple entry visa to ten years for Chinese nationals. Singapore, Canada and America have made similar moves in the past, in a competitive strategy to attract more of the booming capital surfacing in China.
China’s growing middle class means a large proportion of its population are now able travel abroad and this is already being reflected in Australian tourism statistics. In the last year alone, 18.4% more Chinese tourists have visited Australia than in 2014. It is expected that by 2020, more than 200 million Chinese people will be looking to travel overseas. Why not capitalise on this by making Australia their destination of choice?
China is already Australia’s greatest source of tourists, raking in the nation over $5 billion every year. Geoff Dixon, the chairman of Tourism Australia has stated that Australia is an ideal holiday destination for Chinese tourists. We offer good food, aquatic life and a welcoming, safe destination. “It’s almost as if we planned it,” he said.
Along with the multiple entry visa extension for Chinese nationals, the Government is attempting to reduce red tape surrounding their visa processing by pushing through the progress of online visa processing.
However, there are concerns regarding the ability of Australia’s tourism industry to cope with an influx of Chinese visitors. The industry is presently only worth $110 billion and its infrastructure is already struggling to manage the rapid increase in tourists.
One move that has been suggested to improve the experience of Chinese tourists once they’ve visited Australia is to offer more Chinese language services.
Geoff Dixon has said that if Australia doesn’t embrace the new trend towards accommodating the needs of Chinese travellers, it will be “to our peril.”
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