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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid