For Chinese tourists and students, Australia is gradually losing its attraction

Published on : Tuesday, September 24, 2019

For Chinese tourists and students, Australia is gradually losing its attraction as the harmful trade war between the U.S. and Beijing, paired with a slowing down of the economies at home, spooks them into staying put.


The number of Chinese visitors has grown just over 1% in the last 1 year through July, matching the weakest rate in nine years, as the increase of students traveling Down Under to enroll university has also slumped fast. Even a drop in the value of Aussie dollar hasn’t managed to stop the downturn.


“We suspect the trade dispute is a large reason for the decline,” said Hayden Dimes, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. It “creates uncertainty for both visitors and, in particular, students.”


Dimes considers that if the drop in Chinese students and visitor numbers is prolonged, it could cost Australia’s economy — the most China-reliant in the developed world — about A$800 million ($543 million) in the next two years. Austrade, the trade promotion and investment attraction agency of the government is already scaling back prediction in terms of tourist arrivals.


So far, Australia has mostly profited from the U.S.-China trade disagreement: Beijing’s stimulus to counterbalance weaker shipments has increased demand for its commodities and the lower Aussie dollar is making firms even more aggressive. Indeed, the slowdown in Chinese tourism and education in the face of a weaker currency is surprising given it makes cities like Sydney cheaper for visitors.


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