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New tour operators approved under the Approved Destination scheme.

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

NEW TOUR OPERATORS APPROVED UNDER T HE APPROVED DESTINATION SCHEME An additional eight Australian travel agencies have been approved to join the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme, which facilitates the travel of Chinese tourists to Australia.

These eight new agents will join 49 existing agents in supervising Chinese tourists who come to Australia under the ADS scheme in tour groups. Since its inception in 1999 ADS has brought over 397,000 tourists to Australia.

The Minister for Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, said over the past decade, the Chinese market had experienced an 18.4 per cent annual growth rate.

All existing ADS agents and new agents who wish to participate in the scheme are required to reapply for approval each year, to protect tourists against a few unscrupulous operators.

“These arrangements, in place since 2005, help ensure Chinese visitors are provided with a high quality tourism experience and protect the reputation of the Australian tourism industry,” Minister Ferguson said.

All newly approved ADS agents will be subject to a specific ADS training course. This course, as well as ongoing training, support and compliance checks, will help the new agents maintain the excellent industry standards expected of ADS tour operators and the ADS scheme.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the Australian ADS scheme was often cited as the most effective in the world.

“Latest figures show the non-return rates were still at a low 0.4 per cent - under the global average of 1.23 per cent for visitors to Australia,” Senator Evans said.

Media inquiries: Minister Ferguson's Office: Michael Bradley - 0420 371 744 Senator Evans' Office: Simon Dowding - 0411 138 541

RET Minister > The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

25 Sep 2008