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For Australia’s tourism industry, the China-Australia Free Trade Act (ChAFTA) is possibly the best opportunity for growth and expansion ever. Not only are Australian tourism services providers invited to open new facilities in China, millions of Chinese tourists are expected to vacation in Australia in the next ten years. The construction and building industries in both countries are expected to gain from the Agreement, too, as hotels and services are developed to accommodate the expected influx of visitors.

Shifting Economy Brings New Opportunities

China’s economy has been changing in recent months, as its government shifts focus to improving services for its growing middle class. For over three decades, Chinese manufacturing workers have been providing goods to the world, and their labour has created significant wealth. They are now seeking the amenities that can be purchased with that wealth, and the tourism industry in the country is growing exponentially as a result. However, internal travel services are not able to meet the need, so the ChAFTA agreement expanding Australian tourism services in China is coming at a very opportune time.

Australian Services In China

For the first time ever, Australian tourism providers have access and opportunity to build or renovate wholly-Australian owned hotels and restaurants in China. Additionally, Australian tour operators and travel agencies can now open subsidiaries in China and offer accommodation, travel and tour services to both foreign and domestic travelers. Cheque cashing services are included as part of the deal. Australian investment in China is expected to grow substantially as AU enterprises shift resources into this vast, new market.

Chinese Tourists to Australia

Already, the Chinese have embraced Australia’s tourism charms, being the single largest national population to visit the country, and having the highest total rate of expenditures and visitor nights. A Tourism Australia Consumer Demand survey determined that the Chinese value world-class beauty, interesting attractions and safety and security in their travel destinations. Australia certainly fulfills those criteria, as its coastlines and exotic wildlife fascinate both visitors and residents.

ChAFTA promises that even more Chinese citizens will plan to experience Australia on their holidays, while Chinese businesses will also spend more time and money in the country. The ease of travel between the two countries is expected to produce as much as AU $13 billion in revenues by 2020. Up to 50 percent of those travelers will be vacationers, who are anticipated to spend as much as $4,200 per trip. Business travel is expected to grow by more than ten percent, and each of those trips is anticipated to bring in $5,200 per person in revenue.

To accommodate the increased travel demands, the Approved Destination Status designation will be expanded to permit more tourism providers and operators in each country.  Additionally, in 2015, Australia announced plans to issue a pilot “10 Year Visitor Visa” with the express purpose of encouraging repeat visits by new Chinese friends. ChAFTA already provides up to 5,000 “work and holiday visas” for Chinese nationals who seek extended stays.

Chinese Business in Australia

To ensure Chinese visitors have the best possible experience, Chinese tourism companies are also invited to invest in Australian properties for tourism and other purposes. In July 2015, Australia introduced a new “Premium Investor Visa” (PIV) and refined its “Significant Investor Visa” (SIV) to ease investments in several Australian sectors including non-residential property. As Chinese nationals look to expand their personal and corporate investment profiles, Australia’s newly relaxed regulations should offer exciting opportunities.

Australian Tourism Focuses on China

The Australian government is already active in growing its tourism industry,  identifying it as one of the country’s five investment priorities; funding Tourism Australia with over $143 Million annually; adding $10 million to the China Approved Destination scheme, and offering a tourism focus during “Australia Week in China.” After 15+ years working with international enterprises in China and Asia, I’ve never seen this level of opportunity, especially not in the country itself. If you’re planning on venturing into China’s exciting new tourism sector, give me a call. I can help you move swiftly through the process.

If you are interested in knowing more about China, download the first free chapters  of my book here.

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