China’s robust travel activity signals infrastructure investment opportunities in Australia

25 Sep 2013

Rising numbers of visitors from China have underscored opportunities for Chinese investment in Australia’s tourism infrastructure, according to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s (Austrade) representative in Shanghai.

“The Chinese tourism boom combined with a tightening supply of accommodation in Australia has increased opportunities for Chinese investors in Australian hotels and other aspects of the nation’s tourism infrastructure,” Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner Michael Clifton said.

In 2012, China overtook the UK as Australia’s second largest inbound travel market, with 626,400 visitors spending a record US$4.2 billion over the year.

Record spending looks set to continue with 373,300 visitors from China arriving in Australia in the first six months of 2013, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed.

“We’re seeing a number of factors emerge as a result of changing consumption patterns among China’s growing middle class – and overseas travel is one of them,” Mr Clifton said.

Deloitte Access Economics has said in its Tourism and Hotel Outlook report, released earlier this year, the number of visitors from China to Australia rose 15.6 per cent over calendar 2012, outpacing 4.6 per cent growth in overall international visitor numbers.

The increase occurs as Australia’s hotel occupancy rates remained near the strongest on record in the nation’s four largest capital cities, Deloitte has said.

Meanwhile, China’s fast-growing pool of high net-worth individuals (HNWI) has demonstrated a greater appetite for assets offshore, according to a recent report.

“Chinese HNWIs are increasingly seeking overseas asset allocation for risk diversification and investment opportunities,” Bain & Company’s China Private Wealth Report 2013 read.

Over the past five years, the number of HNWIs in China has doubled, becoming the fourth largest private wealth market in the world after the US, Japan and Germany, and the second largest in the Asia-Pacific, Bain & Company said.