15 August 2008

Aus: Chinese and Indian tourist numbers up, Japan down

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The number of Chinese and Indian tourists is set to raise over the next 12 months, despite a general plateau of the flow of international tourists from other countries and a downward trend in the number of Japanese tourists, reports ABC Radio.

According to the news source, Australia experienced an overall decline of international tourists by two per cent over the past 12 months, while the numbers of Australians holidaying overseas peaked at record levels. 

The National Manager of Tourism and Events Caroline Wilkie said the predicted twenty per cent decline in Japanese tourists over the next year is in part due to the tourism market remaining relatively unchanged over the past five years. 

She also commented that competing with Europe and America for the up-and-coming Chinese market will be a challenging task, as Chinese tourists are inclined to visit “old-world countries” rather than Australia.  She also raised concerns about “rogue operators” who escort large groups of Chinese to Australia, accommodate them in sub-standard accommodation and make tour itineraries based on personal connections with tour operators rather than reflecting a unique Australian experience. 

Ms Wilkins said that moving forward is "about trying to get our product into that market so rather than it being Chinese operators bringing in Chinese people into Australia, that we have a growing number of Australian companies who are bringing people out so that they have a good and positive experience that they can take back. That is not to say that by any means that all Chinese operators who are bringing people out are doing those sorts of practices."

Tourists to the country can use Australia’s world-renowned Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to apply for a short-stay tourist visa.  The ETA is regarded as one of the most streamlined travel authorisation systems, and in most cases visas can be granted in seconds online.  For travellers who wish to stay for longer in the country, the Australian Immigration Department offer a long-stay tourist visa that lasts for up to 12 months.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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