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As the first countries outside of Asia to receive Approved Destination Status in 1999, Australia and New Zealand are established long-haul destinations for Chinese tourists. China is the largest source market for international tourism to Australia, and the second-largest source market for New Zealand.
Interviews with Chinese travelers:
Have you ever been to Oceania?
I’ve been to Australia, I have relatives there. I stayed there a month.
I have been to Australia.
I went to Australia in December 2016.
Where did you go in Australia and what did you do?
Melbourne, then I went to Sydney and what else…ah Canberra, the capital. For the most part I was in Melbourne, because [my relatives] live there. I mostly went to museums and to the mountains.
I went to Melbourne and Sydney, with my parents. I stayed two weeks, more or less. I spent quite a bit of time in Melbourne, and from there I went to Penguin Island and the Twelve Apostles. In Sydney I went to the beach.
Sydney and Brisbane, Queensland, Melbourne and Canberra.
What’s your impression of Australia and what did you like about it?
I felt so close to nature! Melbourne is a good place to live. The pace of life is very slow, no one is stressed out.
The weather…and there are so many parks! Life there is really good! [Traveling] in Melbourne is very convenient, because there are so many Chinese people there, and you can find many Chinese products and shops.
Australia is beautiful, it has blue sky and white clouds. Chinese winter corresponds to their summer. Christmas is in summer, it’s a [beautiful] experience. And they have great seafood!
Would you like to go back to Oceania?
Yes, I would like to go back. New Zealand comes across as a big farm! With cows everywhere and milk! This is my impression! If I have the opportunity, I will go [to New Zealand]. These places are worth visiting.
This summer I will go [to Australia] with my son, during his summer break from school. Because I have already applied for a three-year multiple-entry visa to Australia, with a three-month entry each time.
A record-breaking 1.43 million Chinese travelers visited Australia in 2018, replacing New Zealand as Australia’s largest international tourism source market. With 448,000 arrivals in 2018, China accounted for 10% of all international visitors to New Zealand.
Chinese travelers used to combine Australia and New Zealand in one trip, but now most choose to visit the countries separately. Australia has granted Chinese citizens 10-year multiple-entry visas since 2016, and New Zealand started issuing five-year multiple-entry visas in 2017.
Australia and New Zealand are popular during Chinese New Year, when it’s summer in the southern hemisphere. Both countries are also top choices for study tours by Chinese families in July and August. China was the biggest source market for Australia’s international students in 2018 and accounted for 30% of international students in New Zealand in 2017. The two countries are also popular destinations for honeymoons and nature tourism, and highways through beautiful scenery and along coastlines are attractive for self-driving travelers.
According to COTRI Analytics, about 40% of Chinese travelers to Australia and New Zealand in 2018 came from first-tier cities. However, the increase in Chinese arrivals can be attributed to the rise of travelers from lower-tier cities, as new flights have been launched from places like Chengdu and Hangzhou.
COTRI Analytics reports that about 60% of Chinese tourists to Australia and New Zealand travel independently. With the increase of Chinese travelers’ income, independent travelers, who are younger and more adventurous, are on the rise. The length of stay by Chinese FITs is three times longer than package tour travelers, which allows them to visit more remote regions.
As the biggest spenders among all international visitors, Chinese travelers spent over 70.3 billion USD in Australia in the 12 months previous to September 2018. During the same period, Chinese tourists to New Zealand spent 1.63 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 14%. China is the second-largest contributor to New Zealand’s tourism revenue.
Chinese tourism growth to Australia and New Zealand has slowed in recent years. But at the same time, the increase of Chinese FITs continues to drive up the expenditure by Chinese travelers to these countries.