News / Asia

Chinese Tourists Flock to Australia

Tourists take pictures in this long exposure photograph as the Sydney Opera House is lit with green lights during St Patrick's Day celebrations in central Sydney, March 17, 2010.
Tourists take pictures in this long exposure photograph as the Sydney Opera House is lit with green lights during St Patrick's Day celebrations in central Sydney, March 17, 2010.

Asia is coming to the rescue of Australia's troubled tourism industry, which has been in decline because of a downturn in visitors from Europe and North America.  Visitors from China have risen by more than 20 percent in just 12 months.   Last year, more than half-a-million Chinese travellers came to Australia.   

More Chinese are visiting Australia than ever before.  Shopping, the weather and the unusual wildlife are major attractions.

In seaside suburb, Manly, in Sydney another enthusiastic group of vacationers have come to marvel at the crashing surf and pristine sand.

Among them is Becky from southern China, who says Australia is a well-known destination.

"Oh, I think they know Australia a lot mainly because of back to 2000 the Olympics.  That is one of the main reasons and the other reason is recently China and Australia we have all the trade between [the] two countries," said Becky.  

Boost to travel industry

Last year, 540,000 Chinese visitors came to Australia.  They spent $3.5 billion,  which has helped to reinvigorate a travel industry that has been struggling as more North Americans and Europeans stay at home.

Andrew McEvoy, the managing director of Tourism Australia, the government’s marketing agency, says interest among travellers across Asia is increasing.

"Inbound travel to Australia grew last year marginally by about one percent, but all off the back of Asian visitation, so China, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and India all had double-digit growth," he said.  "New Zealand grew too off big numbers so our region, the region Australia exists in, is doing very well.  But you are right, the U.K., Europe and the Americas [with] macro-economic problems [are] struggling.  So China and the rest of Asia have been vital for our industry.”    

Wilderness appeal

Australia was the first Western country to receive approved destination status from the Chinese authorities in the late 1990s.  

Andrew McEvoy says affluent tourists from China can not resist Australia’s wild beauty.   

"It is competitive and they do love Europe, and they do love the U.S. and they do love Australia," he said.  "I was told by one agent out of Hangzhou that for the Chinese consumer Europe is luxury and tradition, America is wealth and popular culture and Australia is lifestyle and environment.”  

Australia vigorously promotes its fabled laid-back culture and stunning scenery to the Chinese just as it once did to the Japanese, whose numbers are falling largely because of a sluggish economy.

But the Chinese market keeps on growing, much to the relief of the New South Wales Tourism Minister George Souris.

"We believe that the Japanese market for us is in a long-term decline, but it has been more than taken over by our Chinese friends and they say the same things that the Japanese used to say, why they come to Australia and it is this clean environment," he said. "They want to visit beaches.  They do not actually go swimming many of them, they just want to visit the beaches, they want to visit national parks, they love the sight seeing and they just love this clean air, clean environment.  We perhaps underestimate that here in Australia of how important it is to somebody who comes from a more industrialized country and it is a very strong attraction for the Chinese market."

Increased dependence on China

A million Australian jobs depend on the vacation trade, so while the mighty resources sector is the country’s economic engine, tourism remains critical to the country’s financial health.  So, from mining to restaurants, hotels and casinos Australia is increasingly relying on China for its prosperity.

John Searle, a tour guide, says the Chinese want to see the beach and Australia’s legendary outback.

"They like to see the bush, there is no risk about that," he said. "Obviously they do like coming to places like where we are now, Manly.  But they definitely do like to go out into the bush.  They definitely like to see wild animals like the kangaroos and the koalas and things like that.  They are typical tourists that really like to take pictures of everything and anything.”   

The high Australian dollar is, however, likely to remain a problem for tourism operators for some time.  There is a warning too that Australia's Asian tourism boom could also be derailed in the longer term by a lack of language skills among businesses.  


You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs