Based on the results from an annual survey focusing on the relationship between Australia and China, most Australians believe that China and its tourists are essential for the country’s economy.
Additionally, the general opinion is that strengthening the relationship with China should be a priority, especially with local casino operators looking to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey, conducted by the Centre for Business Intelligence and Data Analytics at the University of Sydney and the Australia-China Relations Institute, is all-encompassing and delves into matters such as the following:
- — Political communication
- — Military and security
- — University
- — Research cooperation
Let’s look at what surveyed Australians had to say about the country’s relationship with China.
Local Brick-and-Mortar Casinos Rely on Asian Tourism
In an interview, Matt Bekier, Chief Executive at Star Entertainment Group, said that Asian tourists would help Australian tourism recover from the consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that Australian casinos showed incredible numbers pre-pandemic. Bekier continued by expressing no doubt that, once international borders opened up again, Aussie local casinos would be the go-to destination.
Out of all surveyed Australians, 74% agreed that Chinese tourists represent a major benefit towards Australian tourism. Similarly, just over half of the participants said that encouraging Chinese tourism should be a post-pandemic priority for Australia.
Additionally, 63% of interviewees agreed with the statement that Australia wouldn’t be as thriving without a close relationship with China. Consequently, 61% believe that Australia should work on strengthening the relations, which are currently strained.
Last year, a poll conducted by Global Survey Centre and Australian Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University showed that Australia ranked second as the most desirable overseas destination for all Chinese tourists. The country also ranked first as a place to study abroad.
Upon release of this year’s poll, Margy Osmond, CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum, stated that the Chinese market was the most significant one for inbound tourism pre-pandemic and that it should be again, once international travel took up.
International Tensions and Strained Relations Not a Major Concern
Under the Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, China decided to suspend all activity indefinitely. This could prove to be a serious impediment that would make the return of the high rollers to Australian casinos more difficult.
However, Matt Bekier of the Star Entertainment Group said he wasn’t too worried about the latest developments and events between the two countries. Despite being optimistic, he understands that a couple of months of hard work are necessary to get back to normal.
The ties between China and Australia were first strained in 2018 when the latter decided to ban Huawei, the Chinese tech giant, from its 5G network. The already delicate relations worsened after Australian officials demanded an independent investigation into the COVID-19 origins.
We have yet to see whether the tensions will soften. One thing is clear, though — both nations need to make a lot of effort to repair the ties.