The Hon John Eren MP - travel report - People’s Republic of China, 23 - 30 July 2017

Minister The Hon John Eren MP 
Portfolio Minister for Tourism and Major Events
Minister for Sport
Minister for Veterans
Countries visited People's Republic of China
Date of travel 23 – 30 July 2017
No. of official travel days
(including day of departure and day of return)
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares (including taxes and fees) $17,442.00*
Accommodation (including taxes and fees) $4,113.00*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $3,295.00*
Travel cost for minister and staff $24,850.00*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The key purpose of my travel to China was to meet with various China based airlines, tourism operators, and sporting groups and organisations in order to advance trade outcomes and to promote and support investment opportunities in Victoria. During my travel, I visited Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai.

China continues to contribute the largest source and share of international visitors, visitor nights and international visitor expenditure to Victoria. This trip provided an opportunity to build and strengthen the Victorian Government's relationships with key stakeholders in China in order to develop further trade and investment prospects for Victoria.

During my visit, I held several meetings and functions with leaders in China's travel industry and media to promote Victoria as a premium Australian destination for travellers from China.

I also met with a number of officials in China, including the Australian Consul-General to Hong Kong and the Australian Consul-General to Guangzhou.  I met with tourism operators Ctrip, PTC and MCI to discuss the importance of Victoria as a tourism and business events destination. 

Direct air access is a key influencer on tourism visitation and the Victorian Government has a strong partnership with its China and Australia based airline partners.  I met with several airlines, including China Southern Airlines, Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines, to discuss the importance of the China market for Victoria and explore further opportunities to  work together to increase airline capacity to Victoria.

I also met with several sporting organisations, including the Chinese Cricket Association and Shanghai Tennis Association, together with Tennis Australia and the Shanghai Sports Bureau, to discuss the importance of sports development, trends in the China market and opportunities to work together to support the sporting sector. 

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

The primary benefits of my travel have been to: promote Victoria as a premier tourist destination in the Asia Pacific region; strengthen relationships with key airlines; encourage additional direct flights from China to Melbourne; and officially open Visit Victoria's Beijing office.

I was pleased to announce the Memorandum of Understanding between Visit Victoria and on 26 July 2017. is the largest online travel agency in China and provides a range of travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management. The MOU will facilitate future co-operation in product development and destination marketing, and will provide benefit for Victoria and China. The signing of this MOU demonstrates the Victorian Government's commitment to strengthening ties between China and Victoria, and growing the China tourism market even further.

I officially opened the Visit Victoria Beijing office on 28 July 2017. This event was attended by representatives from the travel trade, airlines and key travel industry media. The new Beijing office adds to Visit Victoria's presence in China, with existing offices based in Shanghai and Guangzhou, and signifies Victoria's commitment to the China market.

I garnered a greater understanding of trends in sports participation in China and was pleased to promote the benefits of sport and recreation and Victoria as the sport capital of Australia. I discussed opportunities to share information for mutual benefit, and ways Victoria and China can work together on sports diplomacy.

Through my meetings with groups such as PTC Express Travel and MCI Group, both leading China based conference and incentive tourism operators, I gained a greater understanding of emerging trends within the business events market in China and promoted our new MCEC opening in 2018.  In particular, the needs of Chinese business event delegates and how Victoria can become better placed to attract this important and lucrative market.

This trip also provided an opportunity to strengthen Victoria's relationships with several airlines. During my meetings with airline providers China Southern Airlines, Qantas and China Eastern Airlines, I reinforced the importance of the Hong Kong and China markets to Victoria.

As at June 2017, there were seven airlines connecting Melbourne to nine cities in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Guangzhou, Changsha, Xian, Chengdu and Xiamen), an increase from four airlines and three cities (Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu) in December 2014.

Following my trip, China Eastern Airlines announced an upgauge to its Melbourne services.  China Eastern will upguage its current A330 service to a Boeing 777 on four days a week between Melbourne and Shanghai on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from December 8 2017 until March 9 2018. China Southern Airlines will also increase its services from double daily to triple daily between Melbourne and Guangzhou from December 2017 to February 2018.

Next Steps / Follow Up

Sports Diplomacy

  • The Victorian Government to explore opportunities and share sporting knowledge with China, and examine ways Victoria and China can work together to further develop sporting opportunities.

Air Services Attraction

  • The Victorian Government to continue discussions with airlines on ways to strengthen our partnerships and airline capacity between China and Victoria.

Business Events

  • The Victorian Government to continue discussions on ways China and Victoria can work together to grow business event travel.

 Marketing Campaign

  • Visit Victoria to continue to undertake a range of activities and work with key partners to attract visitors from China.
  • Visit Victoria to develop a new campaign to attract visitors from China.

Page last updated: 30 November 2017