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Six Chinese airlines vow cooperation in Australian tourism promotion

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-20 16:22

SYDNEY - Six Chinese airlines have agreed to jointly market and promote Chinese tourism in Australia through coordinating an increase in two-way traffic capacity as 2017, the China-Australia Year of Tourism approaches.

China is on track to become Australia's largest source of international arrivals, while Australian outbound tourism to China has grown 40 percent in the past five years to more than 700,000.

Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Air on Tuesday signed the memorandum of understanding for a coordinated approach to increasing capacity and tourism promotion.

"This is one of the most significant tourism exchange initiatives ever undertaken between China and another country," China National Tourist Office director Luo Weijian said.

"Designating 2017 as the China-Australia Year of Tourism recognizes just how important tourism is, not just in terms of export income, but in cultural exchange between Australia and China."

The airlines coming together to build one market is "one of the most exciting aspects of these year of tourism" as the Australian market lends more to cooperation than competition, Luo said.

"Rather than six Chinese carriers competing to get a bigger slice of the pie, if we grow that pie everybody will get a bigger slice," Luo said.

"One of our key objectives is to add greater capacity and more routes between Australia and China. This will attract more Australian visitors to China and it will facilitate continued growth in a market that is currently generating more than nine billion Australian dollars in export revenue for Australia."

China and Australia in December signed an agreement for an "open aviation market", removing capacity restrictions on the seemingly lucrative routes in anticipation of increased demand.

New routes and additional China-Australia capacity is expected to be announced at the official China-Australia Year of Tourism in 2017 gala launch at Sydney's iconic Opera House on Feb 5.

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