Minister for Trade and Investment – with responsibility for tourism – Andrew Robb, welcomed the latest International Visitor Survey showing international visitor spend grew by 10 per cent to a record $33.4 billion, or $3.2 billion more than the previous year. This is the strongest yearly growth since 2001, the period of the Sydney Olympic Games.
“Today’s result once again demonstrates that tourism is one of our great strengths. Tourism can be our fastest growing sector this decade if we continue to leverage our ‘clean, green and safe’ brand to position ourselves as the number one, long-haul destination in Asia,” Mr Robb said.
China remained the dominant source of growth with a 22 per cent increase in visitor numbers (864,000) and a 32 per cent increase in expenditure. Chinese tourists are now worth some $7 billion to the Australian economy.
“With China now accounting for one in every five dollars spent by international visitors, it is clear that China is vital to the sustained growth of our tourism sector. That is why the Government has announced a 10 year multiple-entry visitor visa for China (available online and in Mandarin language), and earlier this year struck a landmark aviation deal that will triple air capacity to 67,000 seats per week, between Australia and China by the end of 2016,” Mr Robb said.
With Australia having co-hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup earlier this year with New Zealand, India was one of the fastest growing markets with expenditure reaching a record $1 billion for the first time (up 39 per cent), while visitors increased 20 per cent to 207,000. India is now our 8th largest tourism market, up from 11th the previous year.
For the first time, international visitors attending the Cricket World Cup were eligible to enter both Australia and New Zealand under a joint visitor visa arrangement.
Record growth in visitors was also achieved by the US market (up 9 per cent to 544,000 arrivals) and New Zealand (up 3 per cent to 1.2 million arrivals).
“With new records for international tourism, growth in spend not seen since the Sydney Olympic Games and a reinvigorated tourism investment pipeline, the Australian tourism industry is well positioned to prosper as one of our great economic strengths,” Mr Robb said.