New Memorandum of Understanding with Air China will continue to drive tourism growth

14 April 2016

The signing of a $6 million agreement between Tourism Australia and China's national carrier, Air China, will see the parties continue their joint marketing activities promoting Australia to Chinese travellers.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing was witnessed today in Shanghai by the Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck.

"Record visitor arrivals from China show the Government's pro-growth policies, combined with a targeted marketing strategy is paying dividends," Senator Colbeck said.

"Increased aviation capacity is essential to meet the Tourism 2020 strategy growth targets. The Government's efforts to increase capacity, coupled with our streamlining of visa applications and making tourism infrastructure a National Investment Priority is ensuring we cater for growth.

"The year ending February 2016 saw a 22 per cent growth in Chinese visitor arrivals, reaching over 1 million in a 12 month period for the first time ever. China is now poised to overtake New Zealand as our top visitor arrivals market.

"China is one of our most important tourism markets spending over $8.3 billion in 2015, up 45 per cent on the previous year and expected to be worth more than $13 billion by 2020.

"The continuation of this partnership will support the development of measures to meet capacity demands during peak periods, such as Chinese New Year, and expected increased demand created by the new Aquatic and Coastal marketing campaign launched last night in China."

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the MoU builds on the opportunities available under Australia's liberal air services arrangements with China which were revised in 2015 to provide Chinese airlines with the ability to nearly triple the number of services they provide to Australia.

"The Australian Government is committed to ensuring we have the aviation capacity available to meet future demand into and out of foreign markets and to position Australia as a prime tourism destination in our region."

Tourism Australia has a strong relationship with Air China having entered into its current MoU with the airline in March 2013. Air China is Tourism Australia's primary partner in Northern China and is currently the third largest airline operating on the Australia-China route with a 9 per cent share of arrivals.

The airline currently operates scheduled services from Beijing to Sydney and Melbourne, as well as from Shanghai to Sydney and Melbourne.

Improved air connectivity means that it has never been easier to travel between Australia and China with direct flights from six Australian cities to China and direct flights to Australia from 11 Chinese cities.

The new MoU with Air China will commence on 1 July 2016, after the current MoU expires to ensure continuity.

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