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Snapshots 2012 China - First And Return Visitation

Snapshots 2012 – China: First & repeat visitation
Release: 12/12/2012

This snapshot presents a profile of Chinese visitors who visited Australia for the first time, compared to those who made a return trip to Australia.

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Key Findings

In the past ten years, China has become Asia’s largest outbound market. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that by 2020, China will be the fourth-largest source of outbound travel in the world, with 100 million outbound travellers. UNWTO data shows that between 2001 and 2008, the average annual growth rate of Chinese outbound departures was over 20%. Australia’s inbound Chinese tourism market has grown rapidly in recent years.

From a low base in the mid-1990s, the Chinese market has grown to be Australia’s largest international market by expenditure ($3.8 billion in Australia in 2011–12), and Australia’s third-largest market in terms of arrivals over the same period (around 551,000 arrivals). In the year ending September 2012, China exceeded the United Kingdom to become the second-largest visitor arrivals market, with 573,100 Chinese tourists travelling to Australia. With a large proportion of Chinese visitors travelling to Australia for education —traditionally a higher-spending and longer-staying market—average expenditure per trip to Australia was $6,846 in 2011–12, around 42% higher than the average for all international visitors to Australia ($4,812 per visitor).

The Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) notes that a significant proportion of Australia’s inbound tourism growth will come from China. In 2012–13, the TFC expects that Chinese visitor arrivals to Australia will increase by a further 12% and Total Inbound Tourism Expenditure (TITE) will grow by 10% to reach $4.2 billion. In the longer term, the TFC forecasts that Chinese visitors to Australia will spend $7.4 billion in 2021–22, representing 17% of the growth in expected inbound tourism expenditure over the next ten years. The TFC also forecasts that Australia can expect over one million Chinese visitor arrivals by the start of the next decade.

For Australia to realise this growth, Australian tourism product must be desirable and relevant to a fast-growing Chinese middle class in what will be an increasingly competitive global tourism market. A range of government initiatives focus on understanding and harnessing the potential of Asian inbound markets. These include the Asia Marketing Fund and The Grow Demand from Asia strategy of Tourism 2020. Further information on the Chinese market can be found at and Industry has also undertaken a range of projects, an example of which is the partnership between the Australian Tourism Export Council, AVANA, China Ready and Accredited and the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE to deliver a China Ready Education Program.

This snapshot presents a profile of Chinese visitors who visited Australia for the first time, compared to those who made a return trip to Australia. Data were sourced from Tourism Research Australia’s (TRA) International Visitor Survey (IVS) for the year 2011–12.