Australian resorts want to attract more Chinese tourists
Enticed by the country's massive resources boom -- which is fueling mining-related business travel to major cities -- and an uptick in tourism mainly from outbound mainland Chinese, Asian companies have spent millions in the first half of this year buying up hotel properties in Australia. According to Jones Lang LaSalle figures, companies from outside of Australia accounted for A$990 million ($1 billion) of hotel sales, or 90 percent, with those from Hong Kong and Malaysia leading the way. Already influenced by rising occupancy and room rates, cities like Sydney are feeling the effects of this buyer influx the most, since new investors are overwhelmingly interested in buying existing structures rather than building, owing to higher construction costs.
However, rising room rates don't seem to be slowing the influx of Chinese tourists to Australia, particularly in Sydney. According to Bloomberg, led by visitors from China and Japan, the number of overseas visitors to Australia in the first half of 2012 rose a seasonally adjusted 8.1 percent over a year ago to 515,100. If current trends continue, Chinese tourists may increase to account for 13.3 percent of tourist arrivals in Australia by 2014, up from only 6.4 percent in 2011.
Along with a massive increase in the number of Chinese business travelers headed to the land down under, China's outbound tourists and visiting families of the more than 126,000 Chinese overseas students in Australia should continue to push up occupancy rates, which itself should lure even more companies from Hong Kong and elsewhere to buy up hotel and resort properties as they become available.