Australia has toppled France as the top travel destination for China's super rich – and that's without James Packer's ritzy VIP-only casino in Sydney.
Business magazine Hurun found more and more of China's wealthy were favouring down under in its 2014 Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey.
Australia knocked France to second place after it spent the past three years as the top destination of choice for the Asian powerhouse's elite.
It follows a surge in tourism numbers to Australia this year. Short-term visitors hit a record high in January, with 560,000 – an 8.7 per cent increase – arriving on our shores in January, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Most were from Asia with visitors from Malaysia up 40 per cent, while arrivals from Hong Kong and Singapore leapt 26 per cent.
But the Hurun report found most of the visits from China's super rich were for business, not pleasure.
The high net worth individuals of Australia's biggest trading partner spent an average of 7.5 days a month on business trips, half a day or 7 per cent more compared to last year, hence ''leaving less free time available for leisure'', the report said.
The super rich, classified with wealth of at least $US16 million, spent longer abroad with an average of 12 days a month on business trips, three more days compared with last year.
Free time was scant. Excluding national festivals, China's wealthy spent, on average, 7.5 days on holiday last year, and worked more during the weekends, the report found.
Despite spending less days on vacation, the report found holiday homes were popular among China's rich.
About 60 per cent of China's wealthy are interested in buying a holiday home, representing a 5 per cent increase compared with last year.
This helped keep real estate as the top choice for investment, with the sector rising 7 per cent in the past year. This compared with share market investments rising by 3.7 per cent, while gold fell 6 per cent.
Elsewhere in the travel ranking, Dubai jumped from eighth to third place. Switzerland maintained its fourth position, while the Maldives rose from 10th to 5th.
The US and Singapore, which ranked 2nd and 3rd last year, fell to 6th and 9th place respective.