Wollongong will see millions of dollars in tourism revenue this year after the Chinese government made changes allowing tour groups to re-enter Australia.  

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism released a statement last week lifting a ban on tour groups entering Australia that was put into place during COVID-19. 

According to New South Wales National Parks ranger Ryan Cole, the surge in international visitors will bring more money to local destinations, increasing pressure for workers within the tourism sector.

“We used to have a fairly pronounced off-season during the winter months, but since COVID, visitation remains pretty much the same right through the year,” Cole said.

“Having more international tourists is kind of a win-lose scenario. We’ll likely see degrading of features and tracks and additional rubbish, but it will also provide additional revenue to the park, which means we’re able to provide better amenities such as bathrooms, new roads, improved tracks, and additional parking.”

Prior to the pandemic, Chinese tourists represented 15% of all international tourists entering Australia, generating $581 million annually.

In 2019, international tourists spent a total of 1.8 million nights in Wollongong according to Tourism Research Australia, however, this number drastically declined due to strict travel bans.

Australian Senator Don Farrell said the lifting of the ban is great news for the Australian economy and post-COVID tensions in the Pacific.

“This is another positive step towards the stabilisation of our relationship with China,” Farrell said.

“Prior to the pandemic, China was the largest and most valuable inbound traveller market for the Australian visitor economy.” 

More information on China’s move to once again support international tourism can be found on the Minister for Trade and Tourism website.