Spending by Chinese tourists in Australia has hit an all-time high, a major tourism study said on Tuesday.
The International Visitor Survey (IVS) revealed that Chinese tourists spent 7.75 billion U.S. dollars in Australia in the 12 months to the end of September 2017.
China was the second biggest source of international visitors to Australia with 1.33 million people, trailing only New Zealand with 1.35 million.
In total, more than eight million tourists visited Australia in the 12-month period, staying a total of 268 million nights in the country and spending a record 31 billion U.S. dollars.
Steve Ciobo, Australia's Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, said that much of the growth in Australia's tourism sector was being driven by visitors from Asia, including China, India and other countries and regions.
"The Turnbull Coalition Government is working to maximise the potential of China -- Australia's fastest growing and most valuable inbound tourism market -- to create new Australian jobs," Ciobo said.
Chinese and Australian officials announced that 2017 is the China-Australia Year of Tourism. An open capacity aviation agreement between Australia and China and significant visa reform have contributed to the 13 percent growth in spend by Chinese visitors. Eight new aviation routes between the two countries are expected to be opened within the next 12 months.
"Another market that has seen consistent growth is the United States, with visitors and spending both growing by 40 percent over the last three years," Ciobo said.
"Youth travellers to Australia are also growing strongly with a 10 percent increase in spend in the year ending September 2017," he added.
New South Wales benefited most from international tourism with 7.85 billion U.S. dollars spent in the state, a 12 percent increase on the previous year.