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Australia running a trial of new visa rules

Australia is set to trial new rules for visas to encourage an increase of visits from Chinese tourists and students.

This was announced by the country's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on 14th April, as the entirety of Australia is aiming to boost both its tourism and education, reports Channel News Asia.

By focusing efforts on these two industries, it's hoped that the whole country will see an economic benefit after struggling to cope with the demise of its mining boom.

It seems that this is a good area for Australia to be spending more time on, as official data has shown that a record one million tourists came to visit from China in the 12 months leading up to January 2016.

This is a significant rise, as there were only 100,000 Chinese tourists to Australia this time a decade ago.

China is now only beaten by New Zealand as the country with most visitors into Australia. However, Chinese tourists are still the fastest-growing group, particularly when it comes to spending.

Prime minister Turnbull said: "China is Australia's most valuable tourism market. More than a million Chinese visited Australia last year [and] contributed $8.3 billion (£4.7 billion) to our economy."

Taking note of this, the country is aiming to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit and stay longer in Australia for educational purposes.

It will be improving on this process by trialing visa applications in Chinese and giving access to visa applications online for the first time.

There will also be ten-year visas introduced and eight student visa categories will be reduced to two, according to prime minister Turnbull.

He believes that the entire country understands the importance of this tourism relationship and how it will positively reflect on Australia's economy.

Mr Turnbull added: "It is also a key element in bringing our two countries and our two peoples closer together."

To support these aims, Australia has also launched a new $40 billion global tourism campaign to help it recover from the commodities downturn, again with a focus on the Chinese market.

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