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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs