The number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia now almost outweighs the number of Kiwi visitors who travel to Australia each year, new data shows.
This is according to figures released by the Australian government from its latest International Visitor Survey, which reveal that Chinese tourists have spent a record sum of $10.3 billion on goods and services down under over the last 12 months, providing the country's economy with a significant boost. This is the first time that spending from the Asian superpower has passed $10 billion in the country.
Visitors from China alone are contributing to almost one-quarter of total tourism spend in Australia, which came in at a total of $41.2 billion over the past year.
Overall, some 1.33 million Chinese people visited Australia in the 12 months leading up to September 2017, placing the total figure very close to New Zealand's total of 1.35 million.
The younger tourist market is responsible for much of the growth in Chinese visitors, with figures showing that there was a seven per cent increase in the number of Chinese citizens aged 15 and over travelling down under last year.
This brought the total number of Chinese tourists in Australia to more than eight million, with these visitors staying for a combined 268 million nights in the past 12 months.
Steven Ciobo, Australia's minister for trade, commented: "Chinese are travelling more than ever, so we need to make sure Australia is their destination of choice.
"Chinese visitors love Australia and all we have to offer. They spend far more than any other tourists, pumping billions of dollars into our economy.
"The more tourists we can get to Australia, the more business for our hotels, shops and restaurants, which will create new local jobs."
He added that he wants to see more flights between China and Australia in the future to keep the relationship between the two nations strong and collaborative for the next generation.