Australia to launch E-visa for Chinese visitors
Australian authorities are now looking into the feasibility of online electronic visas for Chinese visitors.
Australia received record visitor arrivals from China for Q4 last year, with visitor numbers increased by 10% y-o-y to 790,000 and tourism receipts increased by16% y-o-y to AUD$5.4 billion, according to Tourism Australia’s acting Greater China general manager Letian Jiang. The Australian authorities are now looking into the feasibility of online electronic visas for Chinese visitors.
“The entire visa process, from submitting documents for application to issuing electronic visas, will be conducted online,” Mr. Jiang said. “Australia has already implemented the electronic visa policy for several countries but we need to make sure the system is capable of handling an enormous number of Chinese applications. Right now we are testing for bugs and we hope to launch it soon to bring greater convenience for Chinese visitors traveling to Australia.”
“We are seeing a trend of more and more Chinese FITs to Australia, and up to 68% of Chinese visitors were on independent tourism visas while the number of those on tour group visas has fallen to 32%. The independent tourism market obviously has great potential,” he said.
Tourism Australia is also wooing MICE business given the notably higher average expenditure of this segment. “Around 61,000 MICE travelers visited Australia in the last 12 month spending more than AUD$200 million in total, or AUD$3,800 per capita,” he said.
One Australian tourism industry operator said a fair number of companies hold their incentive events in Australia, especially Sydney. As such, Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House have been carrying out targeted sales and marketing initiatives to woo China’s incentive groups. As China’s incentive groups are on a scale of thousands of attendees, they present a significant market for Australia’s tourism industry.
“A AUD$1.1 billion world-class exhibition hall within the Sydney International Convention Center will be launched in December 2016 to provide more venue choices, and it has already received bookings of 23 large-scale international conferences. Adelaide Convention Center will also invest AUD$400 million for renovation,” Mr Jiang said. (Translation by David)