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Australia’s surprise success story – American tourists

July 18, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

China is set to overtake New Zealand for the first time as Australia’s biggest source of international visitors within months if current trends continue, while the incredible resurgence of travellers from the US continues to be this year’s surprise success story.

Tourism & Transport Forum chief executive, Margy Osmond, said on Friday the latest Overseas Arrival Data (OAD) released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today showed international arrivals grew 9.2% in the year to May 2017, reaching a record 8.49 million visitors over the past 12 months.

“While we all expected China would take out the top spot by the end of the year, it seems likely that might occur sooner rather than later with China now within a whisker of overtaking New Zealand as our single biggest overseas visitor market,” Osmond said.

“However, while all eyes are focused on the tussle between New Zealand and China, the USA has quietly asserted itself as one of our best performing and lucrative markets.

American tourists

“Since the US grabbed the number three spot from the UK in March 2017 it has continued to go from strength to strength, with a record 744,800 American visitors to our shores over the past 12 months.

“Percentage wise, the biggest mover in the top 20 has been Vietnam, with international arrivals 27.6% higher in the year to May 2017 compared to the year to May 2016. This represents an extra 16,800 Vietnamese arrivals over the past 12 months.

“Growth in international tourism continues to be dominated by our top 20 markets, with 86%of the total growth in the year to May 2017 coming from our top 20 international markets.”

 Country of Origin  

Arrivals (12 months to May 2017)



1.      New Zealand 1,355,600 2.8%
2.      China 1,239,300 10.0%
3.      USA 744,800 14.1%
4.      UK 726,600 3.1%
5.      Singapore 440,900 4.7%
6.      Japan 422,800 13.5%
7.      Malaysia 395,700 10.8%
8.      South Korea 292,700 14.9%
9.      India 274,500 15.3%
10.    Hong Kong 261,000 11.4%

Edited by Peter Needham

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