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News in Brief: Monday February 10

The introduction of a new three-year multiple entry visitor visa for Chinese business travellers is expected to deliver flow-on benefits across Australia’s tourism industry.

Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb predicted the changes would increase the prospect of repeat visits to Australia.

“These changes will also support the government’s ambitious trade and investment agenda and increase the opportunities to do business with China," he said. "Total Chinese investment in Australia grew more than eight-fold between 2002 and 2012, to $23 billion and we want to see stronger continued growth."

The new visa follows the government’s decision to boost seating capacity for Chinese airlines over the Chinese New Year period.

 

Operators on the Sunshine Coast have heralded the last 12 months as their best for seven years, according to the new chief executive of the region’s tourism body.

Simon Ambrose said business has been improving since April last year which has given tourism businesses on the Sunshine Coast a “shot in the arm”.

But he said Australia still has work to do in catching up with the rest of the world in terms of tourism growth.

“Worldwide tourism is expected to increase 6% per year until 2025, but in Australia by only 2%,” Ambrose said.

He said the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) was among the major issues holding tourism back with the amount of revenue generated by the tax “minuscule” compared to the benefits that could be gained by reducing or eliminating the charge.

Ambrose also stressed that the Sunshine Coast was more than just “a couple of beaches”, as he highlighted the Hinterland, Noosa and Fraser Island as key attractions.

Sunshine Coast tourism, which relies heavily on domestic tourism, will also look to focus on golf, food, adventure sports and events in future campaigns.

 

French cruise line Compagnie du Ponant continues to push into the Australia and New Zealand markets with the opening of its North Sydney office.

It is the first time it has had company-owned representation in the local market and comes ahead of L’Austral’s visit to Australia and New Zealand later this year. There are three brochures specifically developed for the Australasian market now available

The office can be contacted at 1300 737 178 (toll free) or +612 8459 5000, or by email at reservations.aus@ponant.com.

 

The new India, Sri Lanka and Nepal program from Travelmarvel offers nine itineraries ranging from nine to 32 days in length.

Highlights include river cruising along the Lower Ganges, leopard safaris in the Sri Lankan hills and dinner with an Everest summiteer.

The 12-day Splendours of Sri Lanka tour is priced from $3,495 per person.

 

Princess Cruises will host the annual CLIA Australasia Masters Conference for the first time in 2014, with the event to be held on a seven night roundtrip cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico.

Details were revealed at the Cruise3Sixty event in Sydney on Friday during a surprise appearance by Princess Cruises’ ambassador and former Love Boat captain Gavin MacLeod.

 

Quest Serviced Apartments has launched its Easter Sale campaign featuring participating locations across Australasia.

Guests who book via its website from now until March 31 can receive up to 30% off at participating Quest locations for stay dates between April 1 – May 31 2014.

Additionally, guests can enter to win one of six weekends away at a Quest location anywhere in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji plus a $300 luxury spa package.

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