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China Daily Website

Chinese New Year boosts Aussie tourism

Updated: 2012-03-06 15:17
( Xinhua)

SYDNEY - International tourist arrivals in Australia jumped 4.8 percent in January, driven by a significant increase in Asian holidaymakers coming to the country to celebrate the Lunar New Year, top national industry body Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) said on Tuesday.

Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures released on Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed arrivals from China rose 27.4 percent, followed by Hong Kong (22 percent), Taiwan (19.1 percent) and Indonesia (13.7 percent).

TTF Chief Executive John Lee said arrivals from China had been growing strongly for some time.

"China represents a massive opportunity for us, which is why Tourism Australia is rightly focusing on lifting its presence in more Chinese cities," Lee said in a statement.

Chinese visitation has risen on average 11 percent a year since 2001, he said.

Lee said it was critical for Australia to keep building on that momentum and capitalize on the competitive advantage of Australia' s proximity to Asia.

"However, China's potential is also recognized by our competitors, who are making substantial investments to attract Chinese tourists," Lee said.

He said the latest annual figures showed that more than one million Chinese traveled to the United States, with a 36.2 percent rise over the previous year, compared to annual growth of 17.1 percent to Australia.

"While smaller numbers of Chinese are travelling to the UK and Canada, they are also seeing faster growth than Australia, at 32.0 percent and 24.4 percent respectively," he said.

Lee said these figures clearly demonstrated the urgency of increasing support for Tourism Australia's activities in China.