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Chinese tourism to Australia set to soar.

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25 October 2003


Australia will welcome many more tourists from all over China following agreement to an expansion of the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme with the Chinese Government.

Federal Immigration Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone, and Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, have announced a further six Chinese regions will be included under the first stage of its expansion.

“The new arrangements will, step-by-step, expand the ADS scheme to include all of China, with implementation to take place over a number of stages,” Senator Vanstone said.

“The first stage will include residents of the regions of Chongqing, Hebei, Jiangsu, Shandong, Tianjin and Zhejiang which have a combined population of around 315 million people,” she said.

Until now only residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong have been able to travel to Australia under the ADS scheme which allows group tourism from China.

“The Chinese Government has designated only a handful of countries as approved destinations for Chinese - Australia was one of the first,” said Mr Macfarlane.

“The ADS scheme has been the key driver of Chinese tourism. Almost 100,000 Chinese group tourists have visited Australia since the ADS scheme started in August 1999,” he said.

China is now Australia’s sixth largest tourism market and today’s announcement complements the recent increase in air capacity between Australia and China.

“While SARS had a major impact on Chinese visitor numbers, the market is already turning and is expected to rebound strongly. Increased tourism will generate economic, social and cultural benefits for both Australia and China,” said Mr Macfarlane.

The announcement reflects the positive relationship between Australia and China which, thanks to the ADS scheme, delivers tourism dramatic growth in a controlled and orderly manner.

“ADS has been characterised by very high visa approval rates and very low non-return rates. This has allowed Australia to trial innovative ways of improving ADS visa processing, such as electronic application lodgement,” said Senator Vanstone.

The roll-out of the extended program will be addressed by Tourism Minister, Joe Hockey, when he visits China and Hong Kong next week.

Media Contacts: Damon Hunt, Minister Vanstone’s office, (0419) 691 944 Kirsty Boazman, Minister Macfarlane’s office, (0412) 171 444