China was Australia’s biggest international tourism market, with 1.4 million visitors from the country travelling here each year before COVID-19.
Chinese tourists spent about $12.4 billion a year before the pandemic.
“With Chinese travellers starting to return to Australia now is the right time to visit our number one tourism market and meet with our longstanding partners,” Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said.
Harrison is meeting with stakeholders and airlines in China in March.
Before the pandemic there were 158 flights from China each week.
Flights are currently running at 23 per cent capacity compared to February 2019, which Harrison is hoping to increase to 80 per cent by the end of the year.
“Tourism Australia will also launch a version of the ‘Don’t go small, go Australia’ campaign to remind Chinese travellers why there is nothing like Australia and capitalise on the visiting friends and relatives market, as well as the pent up demand,” she said.
“These meetings, and this initial campaign, will be crucial as we build up to the launch of a major campaign in China in the middle of the year.”
The major COVID-19 restrictions have eased but the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Smartraveller website warns testing is still mandatory.
“To enter China, you’ll be required to have a nucleic acid test before you travel. You should confirm pre-departure requirements with your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate and your travel agency,” Smartraveller said.
“Travellers arriving in Australia from China will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test within the 48 hours prior to travel and show evidence of a negative test result.”