Chinese tourists will need NBN: Rudd

Summary:Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said that Labor's national broadband network (NBN) will be essential to satisfy Chinese tourists who already pump $4.2 billion annually into the Australian economy.

Kevin Rudd said today that China's emerging middle class wants to be able to check on their home and business while travelling in Australia.

"The expectation of high-speed broadband being available for everything is absolutely fundamental," Rudd told a forum of tourism businesses in Hobart.

"They won't feel comfortable being isolated from news back home, news concerning their business or the intrinsics of their business operation."

Rudd took a swipe at the Coalition broadband policy released last week, which doesn't provide a fibre optic connection to most premises.

"There's no ifs, no buts, no Malcolm Turnbulls about what sort of broadband you want," he said.

"Our high-income tourists from China and elsewhere will simply have this as an elementary expectation, and frankly, it's one of the reasons why we're doing it."

The Mandarin-speaking former foreign minister was speaking about Tasmania's ability to attract a share of Chinese tourism's $102 billion annual spend worldwide.

He said China's 573,000 tourists last year spent $6,422 per visit to Australia, more than visitors from any other country, and that the market would be worth $7.4 billion by 2020.

Rudd said that Tasmania's "clean, green, and blue" reputation appealed to tourists from the world's largest country.

But he warned that Australia needed more Chinese-language speakers and a greater understanding of Chinese culture.

"If you think mum's home-baked meat pie is the way through, think again," he said.

Topics: NBN, Australia, China, Government : AU

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