Australian tourism gets gung ho about Chinese New Year | The Insight Files |

Australia is rapidly becoming the place to be for Chinese New Year celebrations with airlines struggling to keep up with demand to travel down under to see in the Year of the Sheep. Coming off the back of the hugely successful Asian Football Cup, Air China is reporting full occupancies for direct flights between Beijing or Shanghai and Sydney from February 19 to March 2. China Southern has chartered an A330 to fly seven extra services into Cairns and the Gold Coast, and China Eastern has increased seasonal services to Cairns. Tourism Australia's Managing Director said that as the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar, the event has provided a significant boost to Australian arrivals figures.  In the last few years, China has become Australia's most valuable and fastest growing inbound tourism market, with the 789,300 arrivals last year representing a 10.5% increase on the previous 12 months. Recent forecasts indicate the market could be worth up to $13 billion with each Chinese visitor spending an average $500 a day in Australia.