Global Travel Media » Blog Archive » Flying high: New IBISWorld research reveals China and domestic tourists are key drivers of Australia’s burgeoning tourism industry – interview opportunity

Home » Statistics & Trends » Currently Reading:

Flying high: New IBISWorld research reveals China and domestic tourists are key drivers of Australia’s burgeoning tourism industry – interview opportunity

September 23, 2017 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

As World Tourism Day approaches on 27 September, new IBISWorld research reveals Australia’s colossal $119.4 billion tourism industry, which employs more than 600,000 people across the nation, is on the brink of another significant shift.

‘In 2017-18, China is set to become Australia’s largest source of visitors, overtaking New Zealand, marking the largest change since China overtook the United Kingdom as the biggest spender on travel in 2010-11,’ said Jason Aravanis, IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst.

‘While Chinese tourists will exceed New Zealand visitors, traditional markets such as the United States, United Kingdom and Japan have also grown,’ added Mr Aravanis.

International visitors to Australia by market

Market Visitors (17-18)


CAGR (13-18) %
China 1.410 15.7
New Zealand 1.407 3.7
United States 0.807 10.7
United Kingdom 0.779 4.6
Japan 0.465 6.9

Source: Tourism Research Australia

Increasing international tourism

IBISWorld research found that international travel to Australia has increased at an annualised 8.2% over the five years through 2017-18, to reach 9.1 million visitors. A surge in visitors from the United States, Malaysia, India and China has driven this growth.

‘Over the past five years, a weaker Australian dollar has made Australia a relatively affordable travel destination compared with similar countries, such as the United Kingdom. In addition, rising middle-class wealth in China has increased the number of households with sufficient discretionary income to travel overseas,’ said Mr Aravanis.

IBISWorld anticipates international travel to Australia to grow at an annualised 5.1% over the five years through 2022-23, to reach 11.7 million visitors, largely driven by tourists from China.

Growing travel to Australia has benefited several areas of the economy. For example, the international airlines industry has undergone annualised growth of 4.9% over the past five years, according to IBISWorld. Similarly, revenue for foreign currency exchange services has increased at an annualised 4.5% over the same period, and revenue for hotels and resorts has increased at an annualised 2.7%, despite disruptive forces in the industry.

Close connection to China

Tourists from China have faced favourable travel conditions in recent years, with Australia and China both focusing on improving bilateral relations, such as through the 2015 China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

‘Following bilateral cooperation and trade, the two nations have formed a key partnership, known as the China-Australia Year of Tourism (CAYOT). CAYOT is designed to increase tourist numbers between each country. The event’s opening ceremony was held on 5 February 2017 at the Sydney Opera House and the closing ceremony is to be held in China at the end of 2017,’ said Mr Aravanis.

The popularity of Australia as a destination for Chinese tourists is particularly beneficial for Australian businesses, as Chinese tourists tend to spend more relative to other visitors. According to IBISWorld research, several Australian industries, including travel agency services, restaurants and casinos, have benefited from this trend.

‘Chinese tourists typically use travel agency services, contributing to 5.0% annualised growth in revenue for that industry over the past five years,’ said Mr Aravanis.

Australian travel

Australia’s tourism industry is expected to benefit from increased domestic tourism over the next five years. According to IBISWorld, domestic tourist visitor nights are projected to increase by an annualised 2.7% over the five years through 2022-23, to total 401.4 million.

‘The Australian dollar is projected to remain weak over the period, making it more expensive for Australians to undertake overseas trips. According to Tourism Research Australia, Australians are expected to spend $108 billion on domestic tourism in 2022-23. This is a good sign for operators that generate significant revenue from domestic travellers,’ said Mr Aravanis.

‘As more Australians make domestic trips during this period, travel operators will appeal to home country travellers by offering premium services, discounted upgrades and all-inclusive packages to better compete with international offers,’ added Mr Aravanis.

International travel by Australians is expected to grow at an annualised 3.3% over the five years through 2022-23, to reach 12.0 million trips. Despite the weakness of the Australian dollar, cheaper airfares and increased international airline capacity are expected to continue to drive overseas tourism by Australians.

Comment on this Article:

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Platinium Partnership


Elite Partnership Sponsors


Premier Partnership Sponsors


Official Media Event Partner


Global travel media endorses the following travel Publication