By Levi J Parsons
SYDNEY, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The sights, sounds and colours of the Chinese New Year will bring over 1.3 million visitors to the harbour city's 80 events, but for Sydney it's not just the culture and traditions worth celebrating -- the Spring Festival also brings great fortune!
"Chinese New Year is an absolute gold mine for Australia's tourism economy with an extra 81,000 Chinese visitors anticipated to be heading down under to celebrate their holiday," Tourism and Transport Australia chief executive officer, Margy Osmond said.
"Thousands more visitors from China means more spending and that will generate an additional $671 million (513 million U.S. dollars) in expenditure from just this one celebration event."
Chinese visitors are already the most lucrative market for the Australian tourism industry, bringing in an estimated nine billion Australian dollars (6.89 billion U.S. dollars) to the country in 2016.
However with more infrastructure to cater to the Chinese market planned in the next few years, some in the sector believe that number could easily climb much higher, estimating the figure to reach 13 billion Australian dollars (9.95 billion U.S. dollars) by 2020.
"There is absolutely no doubt that the Australian tourist industry could be earning more form Chinese tourists than they are today." Marketing consultancy firm, Cross Boarder Management Director, CT Jonson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Star Sydney Casino's chief executive officer, Matt Bekier, has echoed these thoughts, stating that he plans to triple the revenue brought by Chinese visitors.
"At The Star we are gearing up for the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations to date, with specially crafted Asian food experiences, a program of exciting cultural performances, participation in the lunar markets and spectacular decorative themed displays across the property to welcome the Year of Rooster," The Star told Xinhua.
"It is a very busy trading window for us and The Star is working very hard to deliver."
A study by Tourism Australia found the five most important factors for Chinese travelers choosing a destination was safety and security, world class nature, good food and wine, aquatic and coastal locations and value for money.
With Australia fairing very well in these areas, the opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the Chinese dollar has not been lost on many Sydney traders.
"Economically, Sydney retailers are certainly benefiting from the Spring Festival and we are seeing a lot more mandarin speakers working in stores and more retailers catering to the market with things like gifts and decorations," National Retail Association Chief executive officer Dominique Lamb told Xinhua.
"Retailers are embracing that this is a huge time of year for the Chinese community, but also for them too, this January has seen a record high on spending for the last seven years, so it's great peace of mind for businesses starting 2017 and a very good way to begin the year of Rooster."