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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid