THE number of Chinese tourists who visited South Australia during the 2017 financial year increased by more than 50 per cent on the previous 12 months, new Tourism Australia statistics show.
And in a further boost for local businesses, visitors from the communist country spent the most during their stay — by a long way.
According to the latest international visitor survey, released today, the 56,000 Chinese visitors to SA spent an average of $6340 — 160 per cent above the overall average — when in the state. That resulted in total expenditure of $352 million, 74 per cent above the same figure last year.
While the exact impact of China Southern Airlines’ direct flights from Guangzhou to Adelaide is unclear, SA Tourism Commission chair Sean Keenihan said “sustained, stellar growth” in Chinese visitor numbers and expenditure highlighted the importance of the State Government’s focus on direct air access to growth markets.
SA Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said he was working with industry to make sure businesses were “China ready” and incorporating Chinese language and customs into their offerings.
“Aviation capacity from China into Adelaide is set to increase with additional flights scheduled from December, ensuring we’re well placed to further capture our share of this growing market,” he said.
Mr Keenihan, who is also president of the Australia China Business Council’s SA division, highlighted the 12 per cent, or $118 million, year-on-year growth in overall expenditure to $1.063 billion.
“That’s the key measure for us — it shows marketing efforts are translating into more dollars in the pockets of SA businesses, ultimately growing our economy,” he said.
During the 12 months to June, Chinese visitors overtook those from the US (54,000) to make it the second largest inbound market in SA. Tourists from the UK led the way with 66,000 visitors.
There was a 3.1 per cent increase in the total number of visitors to SA to 435,000, while overall visitor nights increased 14 per cent to 10.94 million.
TOP 5 INTERNATIONAL MARKETS FOR TRAVEL TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA (12 MONTHS TO JUNE 2017):
1. United Kingdom, 66,000 visitors; 1.069 million visitor nights, $90 million expenditure
2. China, 56,000, 2.687 million, $352 million
3. United States, 54,000, 933,000, $81 million
4. New Zealand, 39,000, 493,000, $53 million
5. Germany, 33,000, 446,000, $36 million
By Luke Griffiths