Chinese Tourism To Australia
Chinese contribution to Australia's tourism could top $6 billion
Australians feeling guilty about their overseas jaunts at the expense of local tourism destinations take heart - the Chinese are coming.
With traditional tourism markets such as the US, Britain and Europe in a financial funk, and the mining boom-fed Australian dollar discouraging others, a surprisingly strong influx of China's wealthy middle class is keeping the industry afloat.
Advertisement: Story continues below Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon said that in much the same way that China had revitalised Australia's mining industry, ''China and Asia are coming to Australia's rescue when it comes to tourism''.
China is the leader in a pack that also includes Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, with India looming as the next big thing, according to Mr Dixon.
''It's accelerating at a rate I don't think anybody really expected,'' he said.
Forget about cheap junket tours as well. While they are now the second biggest source of tourists by numbers, Chinese visitors are already the biggest spenders.
According to Tourism Research Australia, Chinese visitors made a $3.1 billion contribution to the industry in 2010 despite their numbers being behind US tourists and less than half that of New Zealand arrivals.
By 2020, China's economic contribution to tourism could top $6 billion, almost double that of Australia's next most valuable market, Britain.
This strong source of growth meant the Australian tourism industry - an expected victim of the mining boom-inflated dollar - recorded moderate growth for 2010-11, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
A record 5.9 million international visitors came to Australia in the year ending June 30, 2011, up 4.4 per cent on the previous year, with one in four coming from China or south-east Asia.
But it still won't match the increase in Australians holidaying abroad. Over the same period, Australians took 7.4 million trips overseas, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year.
Locals also outspent international visitors on their overseas holidays.
The ABS reported Australian economic consumption on outbound trips jumped 11 per cent to $30.9 billion compared with the $23.7 billion of consumption by international visitors here, up 4.4 per cent on the previous year.
The double-digit spending increase on international trips came at the expense of domestic tourism, which rose 2.1 per cent to just under $72 billion.