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Minister unveils China tourism initiates.

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

MINISTER UNVEILS CHINA TOURISM INITIATIVES The Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, has reaffirmed the Australian Government's commitment to develop the important Chinese tourism market, outlining how Tourism Australia will invest $5.7 million throughout 2008-09 to maximise potential growth.

Minister Ferguson has told a Beijing tourism function that China is already Australia’s fifth largest market in terms of visitor arrivals and fourth in terms of economic value.

Minister Ferguson said: "Annual growth of 12 per cent is forecast for the next decade and it is expected that around 1.1 million Chinese visitors will travel to Australia annually by 2017.

"I am pleased to announce that Tourism Australia will this year undertake an integrated marketing campaign to promote Australian nature and city experiences to this significant and growing market.

"Tourism Australia will use television, outdoor, print and online advertising; and public relations activities through the Visiting Journalist Program. These measures will have a direct benefit for the Australia-China tourism relationship and demonstrate our commitment to the further development of this market."

The number of Chinese arrivals visiting Australia in 2007 rose 16 per cent on the previous year. 2007 also saw Chinese tourism to Australia contribute $2 billion; also up 16 per cent on 2006 figures.

With strong growth forecast throughout the coming decade, it is expected that visitors from China will contribute more than $6 billion to the Australian economy annually by 2017.

Tourism Australia’s successful Aussie Specialist Program for travel agents throughout China has been operating since 2001. The Program provides Chinese agents the opportunity to participate in workshops, seminars, online training forums, and familiarisations to enhance their knowledge of Australia as a destination. Full accreditation enables these agents to have a full working relationship with Tourism Australia in their marketing of Australia to Chinese travellers.

By July 2008, there were 3133 agents from 349 travel agencies in China participating in Tourism Australia's Aussie Specialist Program. Of these, more than 1,200 agents had completed the final level to become fully accredited Aussie Specialist Program agents.

Media contact: Michael Bradley - 0420 371 744

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

22 Aug 2008