As the relationship between Beijing and Canberra continues to improve, airline companies are getting ready to handle a surge in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia. This comes after the Chinese government declared that it would allow organized tours to resume visiting Australia.
A new list released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China includes countries such as Japan, South Korea, Britain, and the United States. This allows Chinese tourism operators to organize group tours to these countries for the first time since outbound travel was banned due to the pandemic. Australia was also included on the updated list of countries.
This particular list was approved in January and March of this year, and the announcement made on Thursday is the third of its kind. The first group consisted of twenty countries, such as Thailand, Russia, Cuba, and Argentina. The second group consisted of forty countries and included nations such as Nepal, France, Portugal, and Brazil.
According to reports in the media, Chinese airlines operating in Australia were aware that the announcement was going to be made, and they had lately started making preparations to increase their capacity to travel to Australia.
As a direct consequence of the news, airports anticipate that airlines will investigate the possibility of operating additional flights between the mainland of China and Australia.
Citizens of China frequently opt to travel by participating in organized group excursions. According to a source within the business, prior to the epidemic, group tours accounted for thirty per cent of the Chinese leisure travel market to Australia.
Margy Osmond, CEO of Tourism & Transport Forum Australia, described the resumption as “incredibly exciting” and predicted that it would contribute to the recovery of the sector.
“The decrease in the number of Chinese visitors has had a significant impact on our industry,” said Osmond. “Given that China was our largest source market for international tourism prior to the pandemic, this decline has had a significant effect.”
The number of travellers making the journey from China to Australia has seen substantial growth throughout the year 2023. At the beginning of the year, there were only three or four round-trip flights that took place each week between the mainland and the Sydney airport. By the month of August, there were more than fifty flights back home per week; this number was kept up in part due to the demand created by returning overseas students.
Despite this, the number of passengers travelling from China to Sydney Airport in June was 69% lower than the levels seen before the outbreak.
The declaration made by Beijing is the latest sign that relations are beginning to improve with Canberra. Just last week, Beijing removed a duty on Australian barley imports that had been in place for the previous three years.
The news that was released on Thursday brought relief to China’s outbound travel operators, who had been facing difficulties since the year 2020 as a result of more than three years of pandemic-induced border closures before China eventually lifted the limitations on Covid-19 at the end of last year.
According to Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager at Spring Tour, “It is a milestone for the full resumption of the outbound travel, and will also strongly push the resumption of international flights, especially for Japan, Korea, and the United States.”
The first three months of 2018 saw Chinese travel agencies record a total of 318,600 visits made outside of China, with Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore being among the most popular locations. According to official estimates, however, outward travel only accounted for 1.58% of the whole tourist sector in terms of the number of individuals who travelled.