Australia's peak tourism body Tourism Australia will boost collaboration with China's UnionPay International to "stimulate Chinese visitor spending" in Australia, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo announced through a media release received here on Tuesday.
UnionPay is a major payment service provider for travelers from China and other Asian nations. Cards are accepted in 162 countries and regions around the world, including in Australia.
Ciobo said the further collaboration, agreed upon in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), would ensure a more enjoyable and smoother experience for Chinese tourists using the service in Australia.
"This MOU will enable Tourism Australia and UnionPay International to collaborate on business development and joint promotional activity," Ciobo said in a statement released late Monday.
"It will also improve the Australian traveling environment and experience by facilitating the highly recognized international payment. This will in turn stimulate Chinese visitor spending in Australia and boost tourism revenue."
Ciobo said he "recognizes the importance of the China market to Australia's tourism industry," adding that collaboration would make choosing Australia as a travel destination easier for more Chinese tourists.
"The (Australian) government values the China market and is supporting its growth through the historic free trade agreement with China; trialing 10-year multiple entry visitor visas; and settling a landmark open aviation market air services arrangement that removes all airline capacity restrictions between Australia and China," the minister said.
China is one of Australia's fastest growing tourism markets and has been its highest spending market for six consecutive years, said the minister, adding that ensuring Chinese visitors have the holiday of a lifetime in Australia means they will aim to return for another visit and tell their friends about their great experiences.
The minister said that 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Australia last year, and this is forecast to nearly double by 2020. These same Chinese tourists spent 9.7 billion Australian dollars (7.7 billion U.S. dollars) in Australia to the year ending March 2017.
The China market has the potential to be worth over 13 billion Australian dollars (10.31 billion U.S. dollars) by 2020, he added.