Calls to introduce WHV agreements with more Asian countries.

Speaking at a recent Tourism Conference, Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said that Australia was witnessing a “sizeable shift” in tourism thanks to the fast-growing middle classes across Asia in what is being dubbed ‘the Asian century’.

He said Australia also need to increase the number of working holiday visas (WHV) agreements with Asian countries.

Mr Ferguson said there were 30,000 vacancies in the tourism industry and it was predicted to blow out to 56,000 by 2014.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said Australia needed to introduce working holidaymaker visa agreements with countries such as the Philippines and China and accept more working holidaymakers from Indonesia.

“We don’t have many agreements with Asian countries,” he said.

Tourism Australia will unveil its next television commercial and the latest stage of it’s There’s Nothing Like Australia campaign in China in June, before rolling out to all 25 countries in 17 languages.

China has become Australia’s most valuable tourism market, growing by almost 20 per cent last year and Mr Ferguson said the “dragon’s share” of marketing dollars was now devoted to it.

Chinese tourists spent $3.5 billion last year and are forecast to spend up to $9 billion by 2020.

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