The Chinese mainland has overtaken New Zealand as the biggest source of international visitors to Australia for the first time.
Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday showed that 1.39 million people visited Australia from the Chinese mainland in the 12 months to February 2018, a 13.2-percent increase on the previous months.
The number of Chinese visitors to Australia has tripled since 2010 and Tourism Australia expects further growth up to 3.9 million every year by 2026.
Tourism Australia expects 42 percent of all international visitors to Australia to come from the Chinese mainland by 2020.
Steve Ciobo, Australia's minister for trade, tourism and investment, said New Zealand remained a strong market for Australian tourism with 1.36 million visitors over the 12-month period.
Despite New Zealand traditionally being the biggest source of visitors to Australia, Chinese tourists have been outspending those from any other country since 2011.
"China has been Australia's most valuable inbound tourism market since 2011, with visitors spending a record 10.4 billion Australian dollars (8.07 billion U.S. dollars) in the year ending December 2017," Ciobo said in a media release on Wednesday.
"This growth is set to continue with China's increased prosperity forecast to fuel another trebling of numbers over the next decade to 3.9 million by 2026-27.
"The 2017 China-Australia Year of Tourism, a landmark open capacity aviation agreement with China and significant visa reform, has contributed to this incredible growth," Ciobo said.