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Chinese tourists driving economic growth in Australia: tourism minister

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-07 11:14

CANBERRA - Chinese tourists are leading the charge in driving Australia's economic growth, the nation's Tourism Minister said on Wednesday.

After releasing the results of the latest International Visitor Survey, Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo said Chinese visitor expenditure had exceeded growth targets by almost four years, while better-than-expected tourist numbers from other Asian markets such as Japan and Korea was fueling massive growth in Australia's tourism industry.

"The latest International Visitor Survey shows growth across key Asian markets has resulted in a $9.8 billion contribution to the Australian economy in the last year," Ciobo said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Australia's tourism industry is currently growing three times as fast as the rest of the Australian economy, with tourists from China, Japan and (South) Korea fueling this booming economic activity."

Ciobo said government initiatives to attract more Chinese tourists down under had been widely successful, and added that new policies aimed at further growing the Chinese tourism market were now in place.

"Spending by Chinese tourists now exceeds $6.75 billion annually, which was the stretch target government and industry aimed to reach in the year 2020 as part of the Tourism 2020 strategy," he said.

"While this target was reached four years early and annual growth from the Chinese market now exceeds 20 percent, the Turnbull Government is implementing policies to drive this growth further.

"Just last week, the Australian and Chinese governments settled arrangements for a landmark open aviation market between our two countries."

Ciobo said the stellar results were also on the back of surprisingly high tourist numbers from other major Asian nations, Japan and South Korea.

"The Korean market has once again boomed with tourists from this market soaring 29 percent in the last 12 months. Spending by Korean tourists reached $1.2 billion in the last year," Ciobo said.

"There are encouraging signs Japanese tourists are once again falling in love with Australia, with tourists from Japan jumping 22 percent in the last year to reach a seven year high, while spending by Japanese tourists reached $1.2 billion in the last year."

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