Tourism Australia and China Southern Airlines have signed an agreement that will see the two companies deepen their commercial relationship.
The purpose of the move is to accelerate the existing marketing activities of Tourism Australia in China.
Spending by Chinese visitors could rise to $13 billion annually by 2020, according to the latest figures from Tourism Australia, which indicates just how much lucrative potential is held by that market.
Each Chinese visitor to Australia currently spends an average of $8,000 on every trip, which is more than any other source market. Close to 1.2 million Chinese visitors come to Australia each year and the market is worth around $9 billion per annum.
China Southern Airlines has increased capacity to Australia by 35 per cent over the past 12 months, with 56 weekly services now operating between Guangzhou and Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, in addition to Shenzhen to Sydney.
The new agreement took the form of a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed by in Adelaide by regional general manager for north Asia of Tourism, as well as China Southern Airlines director Guo Jianye.
John O'Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, witnessed the signing alongside China Southern Airlines president and chief executive officer Tan Wan Geng.
Funds will be directed towards a wide range of campaigns and joint promotional activities as part of the new deal, with a particular emphasis on targeting Australia's most valuable inbound market.
Mr O'Sullivan said that building a strong relationship with China Southern Airlines had been a top priority for his organisation since the first unveiling of its long-term, strategic plan for China back in 2010.
"China Southern continues to invest significantly in its Australian network and in Australian tourism. The airline now carries a fifth of all Chinese arrivals into Australia, more than any other international carrier," he commented.
"As we approach 2017, the designated 'Australia-China Year of Tourism', we look forward to building upon this important partnership."