- Posted by Christopher Ledsham
- On 7th December 2016
- australia, Australia-China Year of Tourism 2017, aviation, ChAFTA
The governments of Australia and China have agreed on an “open skies” deal that will allow unlimited numbers of passengers to fly between the two countries. The move, which follows the December 2016 introduction of ten-year Australian tourist visas for Chinese nationals, is being heralded as a boost to Chinese arrival numbers in advance of the Australia-China Year of Tourism 2017.
In addition to lifting restrictions on the number of passengers that could fly internationally between major Chinese and Australian destinations in both countries, the agreement has also liberalised traffic rights and code share agreements. This development, Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester underlined, “will enable Australian and Chinese airlines to service destinations between and beyond both countries, and will allow them to take full advantage of their cooperative arrangements with their commercial alliance partners”.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo highlighted the impact the move could have on Chinese outbound tourism to Australia, indicating: “China is Australia’s fastest growing and highest spending international visitor market. More than 1 million Chinese tourists visited Australia in 2015-16 (up 22.3 per cent from the previous year), and spent almost AUD 9 billion (ca. USD 6.7 billion) during their stay”.
The news has also been greeted with enthusiasm by industry players throughout Australia. Sydney Airport, currently set serve 14 routes to China from January 2017, released a media statement praising the agreement’s delivery of “expanded bilateral capacity ahead of demand”, which it sees “maximising the value to the visitor economy”. Following the deal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather announced that Sydney Airport would look to further collaborate with Tourism Australia and Destination NSW in order to open additional routes to China.
COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute provides expert insights into the worldwide developments of China’s outbound tourism market. As Chinese outbound tourists are travelling to a large range of destinations, our publications cover a number of regions, providing detailed insights and analysing visitor behaviour.
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