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Australian road trips increasingly popular among Chinese tourists

Growing numbers of Chinese tourists are attracted to Australia's Great Ocean Road during this year's Golden Week national holiday. 

This is because travellers are look to take more control of their itineraries beyond the offerings of the typical package tour, the Australian Financial Review reports, with visitors increasingly looking to the road trip as an alternative.

Chinese travel site Ctrip lists Melbourne as the fourth most popular international destination for driving holidays this year, behind San Francisco, Los Angeles and Hawaii. 

Indeed, the number of bookings to the Australian city surged by 70 per cent compared with the corresponding figure recorded last year. 

Over half a billion people are expected to travel during this year's week-long holiday, with the vast majority looking within the mainland. 

The spell is also a peak period for international bookings, with an estimated four million people venturing out of the country during Golden Week last year. 

South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore - countries closer to China - remain the most popular destinations, with the US and France topping the rankings further afield. 

The UK also increased in popularity after sharp falls in the value of the pound, with the average cost of a trip to a Chinese tourist falling by 20 per cent. 

Visitor numbers to Australia are expected to be given another boost with an increase in the number of Chinese cities that fly directly to the country.

Some 1.16 million Chinese arrivals were reported in Australia for the year ending July 2016 - an increase of 23 per cent. Chinese visitors spent $8.9 billion in Australia during the year to the end of June - almost a quarter of total visitor spending. 

John O'Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, said: "You can now fly direct to Australia from no less than 12 cities in China.

"With the big increases we've seen in aviation capacity between our two countries in recent times, I think we can expect to see a significant boost to our Chinese arrivals this holiday period. Certainly, many of our airline, trade and distribution partners are reporting strong bookings."

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