New Study shows Kangaroo Island is our biggest drawcard for Chinese visitors

19 March 2017

Leon Bignell MP
Minister for Tourism

Chinese travellers continue to be the fastest growing inbound market for South Australia, with visitor numbers up 41 per cent and total spend now more than $250 million a year.

The State Government and Tourism Research Australia recently undertook a study of this market and have shared findings to identify ways to continue to grow Chinese visitor numbers to South Australia.

The study – ‘Chinese Free and Independent Travellers to South Australia’ – revealed South Australia’s clean air, wildlife and opportunities for exploration/adventure have high appeal for Chinese visitors.

Other key findings included:

  • Kangaroo Island is the biggest drawcard to the State, with 65 per cent of Chinese visitors knew about Kangaroo Island. There is also opportunity to grow appeal to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley.
  • Once in Adelaide, about 18 per cent of Chinese tourists opted to self-drive with the majority preferring guided-tours.
  • More Chinese-language options around the State would improve the Chinese visitor experience and encourage positive word-of-mouth.
From December 2015 to December 2016 Chinese visits to South Australia increased by 41 percent to 45,000 - injecting more than $250 million into the visitor economy.

The State Government has invested an additional $70 million to market South Australia nationally and internationally and to attract major events and conferences.

The addition of Chinese language signs at Adelaide Airport, as well as on our main roads and key spots across the city last year was one step toward addressing the growing number of Chinese visitors.

The State Government has also delivered a series of ‘Understanding China Workshops’ to help tourism operators and the wider business community prepare for the increasing number of visitors from China.

To view the ‘Chinese Free and Independent Travellers to South Australia’ report visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell

International visitor expenditure is a record high of $971 million, and we’ve seen the number of Chinese visitors almost double in the past year.

Projections suggest South Australia could attract up to 57,000 Chinese visitors by 2020, bringing with them an associated expenditure of $450 million – and we want to encourage as many Chinese visitors as we can to come to South Australia.

Kangaroo Island is like a zoo without fences and this appeals to our international visitors, especially from China.

There are experiences across Kangaroo Island which allow visitors to get up close and personal with our wildlife - from the sea lions and dolphins to koalas, kangaroos, reptiles and birds of prey.

Our strategy of targeting high-end visitors has also received a huge boost from Lonely Planet, which named South Australia as one of the top five regions in the world to visit in 2017 and the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail as one of the ‘Best New Openings’.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo
The Destination Visitor Survey results for South Australia showed China was Australia’s most valuable market and that a better understanding of their travel habits was invaluable.

Free and independent travellers' from China were some of the fastest growing groups – increasing 33.9 per cent to 427,400 visitors in 2015-16. They also tend to travel out of our wonderful gateway cities to experience all that Australia has to offer.

These travellers currently account for 57 per cent of the Chinese visitors to South Australia, lured by SA’s many attractions and natural beauty.

These travellers said Kangaroo Island was a key drawcard, with 65 per cent knowing about the popular destination.

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ATDW-Online Visitor statistics, South Australia Restaurant Australia