Interview: Australia hopes China to be its top tourism market again, says tourism chief

(Xinhua) 09:38, February 18, 2024

Phillipa Harrison, managing director of Tourism Australia, speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 6, 2024.(Xinhua/Ma Ping)

SYDNEY, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- China is expected to reclaim the top spot in Australia's international tourism industry "in the very near future," chief of the Australian government's tourism promoting agency has said.

"We certainly know that Australia has a lot to offer Chinese travelers and our industry and the Australian public love to welcome Chinese guests to Australia," Phillipa Harrison, managing director of Tourism Australia, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"So we know that we will rebuild the market and it will be our number one market again sometime in the very near future," she said.

In 2019, China was already the top market in Australia's international tourism sector, with 1.4 million Chinese tourists visiting Australia each year, Harrison said, adding that the number of Chinese tourists has increased month by month and returned to about 45 percent of pre-pandemic levels in November last year.

Noting the Spring Festival holidays, Harrison said, "This is always our busiest time of year. So we always see a spike in travel over the lunar new year, which is fantastic."

When Australia reopened 12 months ago, there wasn't a lot of aviation capacity, but it was different this year, Harrison said.

"This is really the first New Year where we've been fully open, and there is really good aviation capacity into Australia," she said. "So we're excited to see more Chinese arriving."

Harrison said that Chinese tourists are welcome to Australia for the Spring Festival, and there are many celebrations around Australia.

"There are lots and lots of local celebrations and certainly Australians love getting involved with the lunar new year festival," she said.

Tourism Australia has a very long-term view with China and has been there for more than 20 years, Harrison said. "It is a very important market for us. We're working very hard on re-growing our numbers."

"So we have marketing promotions going. We have our big 'Come and Say G'day' campaign which we launched in Chengdu in June," Harrison said.

She said she was very positive about the Chinese market and was "really delighted to see that more and more Chinese are coming back to enjoy everything that Australia has to offer."

"It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when we rebuild the market," she said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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