China Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme

The ADS scheme allows Chinese tourists to travel to Australia in guided groups.

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Status: Open

About the ADS scheme

China’s ADS scheme has reopened. This follows the Chinese Government’s announcement on 10 August 2023 that Australia was again included on a list of countries for the scheme.

Austrade manages the ADS scheme in Australia with the Department of Home Affairs and Tourism Australia. We look forward to welcoming the return of Chinese group tours as part of the ADS scheme.

A phased approach to reopening

Austrade is planning a staged resumption of the previously paused ADS scheme. It will have 3 phases:

  • Activation phase – short-term response to re-establish processes and reactivate previously approved inbound tour operators (ITOs) and so that ADS tour groups can commence visiting Australia.
  • Transition phase – medium-term response measures where lessons from the activation phase and outcomes from a review of the scheme inform changes to the future administration of the scheme. New ITOs can apply to be included in the scheme.
  • Implementation phase – long-term response measures where the framework, protocols and requirements are reflecting both government and industry requirements which are developed, consulted upon and implemented.

How to reactivate your approved status

ITOs previously approved under the ADS scheme are eligible to:

  • apply to reactivate their approved status
  • operate ADS tour groups.

To apply to reactivate:

  • email to request a reactivation form
  • complete and return the form along with supporting information.

To be considered for reactivation, ITOs will need to have maintained the relevant requirements to be an approved operator, such as membership of a relevant industry organization and continue to meet the Fit and Proper Person requirements.

View the list of reactivated ITOs at Approved inbound tour operators.

New ITO applicants

New ITOs can apply for the ADS scheme. To apply:

  • email to request a new ITO application form
  • complete and return the form to us with supporting information.

View the list of reactivated and new ITOs at Approved inbound tour operators.

Tour guides

Tour guides (TGs) previously approved under the ADS scheme are eligible to continue to work with ADS approved ITOs.

Previously approved ADS TGs who need to update their contact details can do so by emailing

Austrade is not currently approving any new tour guide applications. However, if you are a tour guide and you would like to work in the ADS scheme as a guide you can.

Unapproved tour guides can work under the ADS scheme provided they:

The ITO must record the unapproved tour guide’s details in the Austrade ADS tour guide register included in your approval email and provide Austrade with the register when asked as part of our compliance monitoring checks.

Note: Austrade is continuing to monitor and undertake ADS code compliance activities. This will include compliance projects involving approved ADS inbound tour operators and tour guides.

ADS Code of Business Standards and Ethics  

Approved ITOs are required to abide by the ADS Code of Business Standards and Ethics.

The Code sets out the minimum quality standards and requirements for ADS tours.

The role of the Australian Government

Austrade administers Australia’s ADS scheme with the Department of Home Affairs and Tourism Australia.

Austrade’s role is to undertake assessment and approval of ITOs in the ADS scheme in Australia and monitor compliance with the ADS Code of Business Standards and Ethics.

The Department of Home Affairs manages the immigration requirements of the scheme and is responsible for approving outbound tour operators (OTOs) to sell ADS tour packages and apply for ADS visas on the tourists’ behalf.

Tourism Australia is responsible for marketing Australia to Chinese consumers and for working with OTOs to equip them with the knowledge and skills to create and sell high quality tour packages to Australia.

Contact us


Telephone: 1800 048 155 (during business hours 9am – 5pm AEST, Monday to Friday, except public holidays).