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Inbound leaps to all-time high, delighting NSW

December 15, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Australia is high on the bucket list for many international travellers and the trend is producing fabulous results for the country’s economy, with visitation from China and the US breaking records.

The number of international visitors to Australia aged 15 years and over topped 8 million for the ­first time during the year ending September 2017, an increase of 7% on the previous year. Visitors spent a record AUD 41.2 billion, up by 6%, while visitor nights reached 268 million, up by 7%.

Visitor arrivals increased across all of Australia’s key markets during the period. Among Australia’s top five markets, China had the strongest growth of 12%, with visitors reaching 1.2 million; the US increased 10% to 712,000; and Japan increased 8% to  396,000. Growth was modest from New Zealand (up 1% to 1.2 million visitors), and the United Kingdom (up 1% to 677,000).

“In the 12 months to September we have seen our tourism export income grow to AUD 41.2 billion which is up 6% on the previous year and you could argue there are few other Australian exports with such sustained growth and such a sunny outlook,” Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) managing director Peter Shelley said of the newly released International Visitor Survey (IVS) figures.

“While China continues to be a leading market for Australian tourism, it is great that we are also seeing growing engagement from the United States, which has been identified as a market that holds a lot of future potential, particularly with high net worth visitors.

“This year we have also seen India’s star rise – with 26% growth in visitor spend – and it is encouraging to see the positive trends in arrivals from both emerging and existing markets.”

Shelley said Brexit and the reduced purchasing power of the pound sterling continued to impact the UK market despite the highly competitive airfare market.

“ATEC members are telling me there is a real sense that Brexit, economic uncertainty and the cost of exiting the EU is really impacting on the psychology of Brits, but right now there is also a highly competitive airfare market which we hope will help to drive renewed engagement going forward.

“As China nudges New Zealand as our biggest inbound market, and contributes the greatest spend to Australian tourism exports at more than AUD 10 billion, ATEC is working to educate and enable the inbound industry on China payments via recent initiatives such as the Alipay corporate partnership and a planned China payments roadshow to be rolled out in the new year.”

Meanwhile, NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said visitor expenditure in NSW was at an all-time high with record spending fuelling the State’s visitor economy.

“A total of 4.1 million people visited NSW from overseas in the past 12 months and they spent a record AUD 10.4 billion during their stay,” Marshall said.

“NSW is the first Australian State to ever achieve these numbers.

“Rural and regional NSW recorded significant growth in both international visitors and expenditure over the last year, with 832,000 visitors who spent AUD 1.1 billion – a growth of 30%v over the last 12 months.

“More visitors to our regions means stronger local economies and I look forward to continuing to boost our efforts to drive the dispersal of international visitors beyond the fringes of Sydney and into rural and regional areas.”

Marshall said the figures had again cemented the State’s ranking as Australia’s number-one visitor destination.

“These figures are proof that our NSW marketing programs and strategies are working and that we’re well ahead of the game,” Marshall said.

“The number of overseas visitors to NSW grew at three times the rate of our neighbours in Queensland, and their total spend in NSW was twice as high.”

NSW is still the firm favourite for Chinese visitors, who totalled 752,000 in the 12 months between August 2016 and September 2017. There was also a large influx of visitors from India, the USA, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Japan and Indonesia.

Written by Peter Needham

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