Australian inbound tour operators will be primed for a boost in 2015 following a suite of new measures to ensure the country remains as an “approved destination” for Chinese travellers.
Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb said the move was to ensure Australia is “best placed” to capture growth from the Chinese tourism market, which are now the country’s top-spending international visitors.
Robb released the revised ‘Code of Business Standards and Ethics’ for Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs), to maintain Australia’s Approved Destination Status (ADS) with the Chinese Government.
“The release of the new Code will help ensure Australia remains an attractive and popular destination for the group-tour market from China,” Robb said.
Australia’s ADS is a bilateral arrangement with the Chinese Government and under the scheme, China has also granted approval for nationals travelling in tour-groups to Australia.
Australian ITOs must first be approved and abide by a new “simplified” Code set out under the scheme, which also includes a demerit points system to encourage compliance. It has also been extended to cover tour guides to “match the needs of the market”, Austrade stated.
“In 2013-14, there were 761,400 Chinese visitors to Australia, with a total tourism spend of $5.3 billion,” Robb said.
“Of these, 167,500 people or 22% held an ADS visa, so it’s vitally important we create a simple yet comprehensive framework, to help ensure tourism operators in Australia build on this success, and continue to attract Chinese tourists to our shores under the ADS scheme.”
The latest Tourism Australia research predicts more than double current inbound arrivals from China by 2022 to 1.49 million.
“Maintaining quality, while reducing red tape is vital to achieving our Tourism 2020 target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to between $115 billion and $140 billion, which will help grow the industry and create jobs across the nation,” Robb said.
Austrade updated the Code “in response to changing market conditions, including growth in arrivals and growth in the number of tour operators,” the body stated.
New training forums to inform of the changes will also be hosted by Austrade as well as distributing information packs in both English and Chinese.