CANBERRA, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia, around 700,000 last year, is expected to double over the next six years, leading to a surge in Chinese investment in the local tourism industry.
Major Chinese developer Greenland Group told a recent investment forum in Sydney that it was ready to plough up to 4 billion Australian Dollars in a raft of new projects in Australian tourism, infrastructure and agriculture. That investment would come on top of its existing 1.5 billion Australian dollars projects in Sydney and Melbourne.
In separate developments, China's Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung is proposing an investment of 8.2 billion Australian dollars at Yorkey's Knob near Cairns, which would include a first stage of five hotels with 4,000 rooms and a casino, a shopping center and golf course. Stage two of Fung's Aquis resort would include 3,500 rooms and a second casino.
Other important mega-tourism projects include the 1.8 billion Australian dollars Ella Bay in far north Queensland near Innisfail where there are plans to redevelop a cattle station into an integrated tourism resort and residential community.
Earlier this year, a Chinese developer, ASF China Property Consortium, was named as the preferred developer for the 7.5 billion Australian dollars Broadwater Marine Terminal project on the Gold Coast.
The Australian newspaper reported on Monday that the surge in Chinese investment was related to the projected explosion in tourism numbers. Chinese outbound tourism is expected to double from 100 million in 2013 to 200 million by 2020, as the "rise of the Asian middle class increases the desire for international travel".
It referred to an address by Greenland's president Yuliang Zhang to a tourism investment roundtable discussion in Sydney a fortnight ago when Zhang said many corporations in China were paying special attention to Australia for its tourism potential.
The newspaper quoted Tourism Minister Andrew Robb as saying the tourism sector needed to be revitalized to become a major export market for Australia. "Tourism and hospitality is undoubtedly one of our great strengths and we are determined to leverage that to a new level to capitalize on the demand coming from Asian markets, including China," Robb said.
Fung's Aquis resort will reportedly provide 3,750 jobs in construction and 11,000 when fully operational.
The project received Foreign Investment Review Board approval in May and the Aquis Group has taken over the Reef Casino in Cairns and is in talks with the Queensland government about splitting the license to cover the proposed two venues.