The China-Australia Year of Tourism was launched at the Sydney Opera House today by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, and the Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, Dr Li Jinzao.

The China-Australia Year of Tourism is a decision made by the leaders of both countries. It promises to bring our countries closer together and provide more opportunities for further engagement at every level – economic, commercial, social, and academic.

Mr Ciobo said the year will help grow Australia’s tourism industry by promoting Australia to China.

“China is Australia’s most valuable tourism market, with the potential to be worth more than $13 billion by 2020. Last year 1.2 million Chinese visited Australia; we anticipate this will grow during the China-Australia Year of Tourism and will continue to grow afterwards. The more visitors we can attract to Australia, the more jobs will be created.”

Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, Dr Li Jinzao, said the decision of our leaders to hold the China-Australia Year of Tourism will go a long way to promoting bilateral exchanges in tourism and other fields and enhancing the friendship between our two peoples. China values its tourism cooperation with Australia and welcomes more Australian friends to visit China. It is hoped that two-way tourism flow will increase further from the current level of 2 million visits per year.

Recent initiatives to support further two way tourism flows between China and Australia include the historic open aviation market air services arrangement which removes all capacity restrictions between Australia and China for airlines of both countries.

We are also improving the competitiveness of Australia’s visa system by trialling a 10-year multiple entry visitor visa and enabling online visa lodgement applications in simplified Chinese.

Australia and China have planned a number of significant events to be held during the Year of Tourism. Australia’s events include Ministerial trade missions to China; marketing and airline partnerships; a Business Events Showcase; and, sporting, cultural and educational exchanges. The activities to be organized by the Chinese side include the arrival ceremony at the ancient city gate of Xi’an for 1,000 Australian tourists and the panda caravan tour in Australia

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