China set to become Australia’s largest tourists

China is set to become Australia’s largest nation of inbound tourists with India and Indonesia expected to follow suit. Tom Hussey reports.

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Melbourne’s laneways are a large attraction for international tourists. Picture: Tom Hussey

CHINA is set to overtake New Zealand as Australia’s number one inbound tourist market an expert says.

Australian Tourism and Export Council Former CEO Matt Hingerty said that China, India and Indonesia were the key emerging markets for Tourism Australia.

“At the moment New Zealand is our number one market … (with) a million visitors a year,” Mr Hingerty said.

“The perceived wisdom is that China and the Chinese disapora will be our number one inbound tourism market.”

Monash University senior tourism lecturer Dr Vicki Peel agreed, saying Australia’s latest tourism growth was due to these expanding markets.

“It’s driven largely by the growth of outbound from China and India in particular, but also from South East Asia,” Dr Peel said.

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Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Despite the high Australian Dollar tourism added $19.5 billion to Australia’s economy in 2012 and 2013 and employed about 500,000 people Dr Peel said.

Melbourne’s laneways were one feature Dr Peel also said were a large attraction for international tourists.

“It certaintly attracts a lot of internationals who find that kind of quaint, unusal, out-there component of our laneways attractive,” Dr Peel said.

However Mr Hingerty said a lot of work needs to be done to cater for these markets such as Chinese signage.

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