CANBERRA, Australia – Tourists from China are the biggest spenders in Australia, and they are likely to spend more in future, the Tourism Research Australia (TRA) report said on Thursday.
China is Australia’s fastest growing inbound tourism market, currently ranked fourth behind New Zealand, Britain and the United States.
Despite ranking the fourth, the TRA report said Chinese tourists outspent the other four in 2010 to the tune of 3.3 billion U.S. dollars.
In 2010, Chinese visitors rose 22 percent from the previous year to 454,000.
Most of them went to the gateway cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, but 7 percent spent nights in regional Australia.
The report said tropical north Queensland, the New South Wales south coast and Hunter region and outback NSW were the most popular regional destinations.
“Chinese visitors accounted for 13 percent of all international nights spent in outback New South Wales,” TRA said in a statement on Thursday.
The Tourism Research forecasting committee said it expects visitor arrivals from China to rise 26 percent to 571,000 in 2012.
In the longer term to 2020, average growth in arrivals of 7.2 percent is forecast with China to become the most valuable inbound market in Australia, and the second largest after New Zealand.
On Wednesday, federal minister for tourism Martin Ferguson unveiled the China 2020 Strategic Plan in a move to capitalize on the expected boom in travel from China.
Tourism Australia also said it is planning to dramatically increase its marketing activity in China, and it was preparing to launch deeper into China and expects to open 11 new offices in China by 2014.