AUSTRALIA and the Gold Coast’s growing popularity with Chinese visitors keeps soaring with the country their fourth favourite destination.
That’s according to a survey of Chinese tourists by big investment group CLSA, a leap up the rankings from 10th in 2015.
Australia sits fourth behind Japan, Thailand and the United States while the Gold Coast rated the third most popular destination in Australia after Sydney and Melbourne.
It comes after the Gold Coast was named China’s favourite western city and fourth most popular spot in the world in a separate bigger poll of 3.6 million tourists in February.
“The changing preferences of Chinese tourists to experience nature also helps Australia to better capture an increasing share of Chinese tourism,” the survey of outbound Chinese tourists said.
New 10-year, frequent-traveller visas for Chinese into Australia were credited as a major reason for Australia jumping up the list.
“Removal of the Australia-China airline capacity restrictions in December last year will also assist in driving Chinese tourism. Sydney Airport remains the most leveraged to this theme, with hotel manager Mantra also a beneficiary especially in the Gold Coast where 23 per cent of its rooms are located.”
Chinese outbound travellers are tipped to double to 200 million in the next 10 years and the report said if all Chinese travellers who wanted to visit Australia did so the country’s infrastructure was “unlikely to support such growth”.
Federal Tourism and Investment Minister Steve Ciobo said Chinese increased infrastructure had been a focus for his government.
“Growth problems are good problems but they are also serious problems,” Mr Ciobo said.
“One of the areas the government has focused on is driving investment into Australia into tourism infrastructure and making sure we are building new hotels. Overall, the growth rate for Chinese tourism into Australia is superb. In the past three years, we’ve had compounding growth of 20 per cent.
Mr Ciobo said Australia and the Gold Coast were just scratching the surface of Chinese visitation: “We are securing one to two per cent of those outbound. We have tremendous potential to do more”.
Almost 300,000 Chinese last year visited the Gold Coast which gets 27 per cent of all Chinese tourists into Australia.
By Ryan Keen
Gold Coast Bulletin