CANBERRA — Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has announced new measures aimed at ensuring Australia is best placed to capture the rapidly increasing Chinese tourist market, a news release by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said on Dec 8.
Robb said the release of a revised “Code of Business Standards and Ethics’ for Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs),” will ensure Australia maintains its Approved Destination Status (ADS) with the Chinese government.
“With Chinese tourists now our top-spending international visitors, it’s important we continue providing the kinds of experiences they demand,” Robb said.
“The release of the new Code will help ensure Australia remains an attractive and popular destination for the group-tour market from China,” he said.
Australia’s ADS is a bilateral arrangement with the Chinese government. Under the scheme, China has granted approval for its nationals to visit Australia in tour-groups. ITOs operating in this market must first be approved, and must also abide by a code set out under the scheme.
The new code has been simplified to make it easier for tour operators to understand their requirements, and it also includes a demerit points system aimed at encouraging compliance with the code. The code has also been extended to cover tour guides, ensuring their qualifications match the needs of the market.
“In 2013-14, there were 761,400 Chinese visitors to Australia, with a total tourism spend of 5.3 billion AD dollars ($4.4 billion),” Robb said.
“Of these, 167,500 people or 22 percent held an ADS visa, so it is 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.”
Tourism Research Australia (TRA) expects inbound arrivals from China to more than double by 2022-23 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 AU dollars ($95.4 billion) and 140 billion ($116.2 billion), which will help grow the industry and create jobs across the nation,” he said.
Austrade updated the code in response to changing market conditions, including growth in arrivals and growth in the number of tour operators. Austrade consulted with industry and government stakeholders, including China’s National Tourism Administration, during the drafting process.
The news release said a series of training forums will be held, as well as the publication of information packs in English and Chinese to communicate the changes.