ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said that the Free Independent Traveller (FIT) is extremely important to the export tourism industry as they are higher yielding and more mobile, exploring the regions and really getting to know what Australia has to offer.
With Chinese New Year celebrations beginning this week, Australia’s tourism industry is seeing more and more Chinese visitors looking to explore beyond the big cities and travelling independently of the traditional tour group.
“The Free Independent Traveller (FIT) is extremely important to the export tourism industry as they are higher yielding and more mobile, exploring the regions and really getting to know what Australia has to offer,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said.
“For many years, Chinese visitors to Australia generally travelled with group tours with set itineraries. With the introduction of more liberalised systems back in 2011, we have seen a steady growth in FIT travellers from China and these are the visitors who are are key to the success of our industry into the future."
“Our members are telling us that the Chinese visitor market is really strengthening with the FIT and VFR markets both looking to explore beyond the barriers of our big cities which is exactly the kind of outcome we wanted to see in this continually growing market.”
Mr Shelley said ATEC members across the country had recorded significant increases in FIT visitors and a greater propensity for Chinese visitors to travel without a set itinerary.
“We are now seeing that Chinese visitors are seeking out specialised tours, individual experiences and are wanting to get involved and explore - it is a sign of a market which is becoming more and more educated about what Australia has to offer outside of the major cities."
“Regional destinations are becoming more attractive to the Chinese tourist and areas such as Tasmania, Port Stephens and Ballarat have seen increased visitation with improved air access and a greater propensity for these visitors to explore by road."
“The Gold Coast is also seeing extraordinary growth from this market, up 25% on last year, helped by the introduction of new flights from China bringing additional capacity via Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.”
While members are expecting a busy New Year, the past two years has shown the holiday period extending well beyond the week long celebrations. In 2014, when Chinese New Year fell in January, Australia saw 95,000 Chinese arrivals and celebrations in February 2015 saw 164,000 arrivals.
“For the past two years we have seen amazing growth in the number of Chinese visitors to Australia for in the New Year period and we expect this year to be no different."
“Chinese New Year has consistently delivered increased numbers of Chinese visitors and we can clearly see there is a growing interest in Australia as a destination for this important celebration.”
“Along with the overall growth from China, which now has arrivals at over 1 million a year, it is clear and evident that Chinese New Year is a valuable time in which our industry can invest."
“Our high quality food, unique wildlife and natural environment are all highly desirable and put Australia on the top of the Chinese visitors travel wish list.”