Established in 1999 between the governments of Australia and China, the ADS scheme is a bilateral tourism arrangement which provides streamlined travel opportunities for Chinese tourists to undertake leisure travel in groups to Australia.
ADS continues to be popular for first-time Chinese travellers to Australia and record numbers are using the scheme. In 2012–13, a total of 163 894 tourists travelled to Australia under the scheme, an increase of 19 per cent from the previous program year.
China is Australia’s second largest, and fastest growing, tourism market. More than 411 000 tourist visa applications were lodged by Chinese citizens in 2012–13, a 22 per cent increase from 2011–12.