The introduction of online visa applications for Chinese people in Mandarin is being hailed as a positive step and one that is likely to result in an increase in visitors for both work and leisure.

It is the first time that applications will be able to take place in a language other than English and has been broadly welcomed.

On top of this the Australian government is also introducing a new 10 year multiple entry for Chinese citizens and this will add to the numbers.


The tourism industry has already welcomed the changes and now the business sector said it is delighted with the decisions too, in particular it is likely to result in more attendees at business events.

According to Andrew Hiebl, chief executive officer of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux, she cost and complexity of visa applications is a core concern for the business events industry.

"Ensuring that Australia's visa processing arrangements remain competitive is a must. The news today that visas will be easier to obtain for Chinese delegates is very welcome." he said.

However, the AACB would like to see further change and has asked the government to consider allowing high spend delegates from China to be eligible for the same $20 electronic travel authorisation currently available to business delegates from Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Hiebl also pointed out that there is a lot of synergy between business events in Australia and China. A recent showcase in Shanghai, for example, featured 30 Australian companies promoting conference and incentive travel to Australia. Sellers met with over 100 Chinese corporate buyers, business events agents and media during a three day programme.

"These events in China show the federal government's commitment to attracting business events to Australia and a recognition of the importance of the sector to the Australian economy," he said.

He also explained that international delegates are as good as it gets for Australian tourism as they spend, on average, 21% more than other international visitors over the course of their trip and 77% more per day

"They are exactly the kind of international tourists we need to be encouraging. The growth prospects for China are greater than any other market, especially now with the momentum of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. A focus on business events will only strengthen ties between the two countries, as they provide platforms for sharing knowledge, collaboration, networks and trade," Hiebl added.

He also believes that while most sellers will be focusing on the corporate incentives sector out of China, there is enormous scope to attract Chinese delegates to conventions and exhibitions hosted in Australia.

The AACB has just released a forward calendar of 296 international business events confirmed for Australia through to 2024. Hiebl said that sharing this intelligence with Tourism Australia and Austrade could help better direct delegate boosting and reverse trade mission initiatives.