Outbound travel from Australia is forecast to grow at an average 3.3% a year for the next decade to reach 12.8 million by 2024-25.
The forecast is included in the latest tourism projections released by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) yesterday.
After strong increases in most years from the mid-2000s, Australian resident outbound departures slowed considerably in 2014-15.
Indonesia, New Zealand, Thailand, Fiji and “other Asia” are forecast to be the top five fastest growing main destinations visited by Australian residents in 2015-16.
While growth projections have been revised downwards for some long-haul destinations such as the UK and “other Europe” for 2015-16 and 2016-17, forecasts for short-haul destinations including New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand and Other Asia are higher in this round than the last round of forecasts.
On the outbound side, tourism is on track to be a AUD 145.1 billion industry for Australia within 10 years and a potential key pillar of the nation’s economic future.
Highlights of TRA’s Tourism Forecast 2015:
- 7.52 million international visitors to Australia in 2015-16 (up 5.9%);
- International visitors will spend AUD 35.9 billion in 2015-16 (up 6.7%);
- On track to exceed 10 million international visitors by 2023-24;
- China forecast to overtake New Zealand as Australia’s largest source market in 2019-20.
- Domestic visitor nights forecast to be 324 million in 2015-16 (up 3.5%);
- Lower Australian dollar and fuel prices influencing more domestic travel;
- Domestic visitors will spend AUD 76.7 billion in 2015-16 (up 3.4%).
TRA comments: “While domestic tourism is a large component of Australia’s tourism industry, the inbound market is forecast to continue leading growth (5.9%) supported by lower fuel prices, the depreciation of the Australian dollar and the improvement of economic conditions in overseas markets.
“Forecasts for Australia’s key tourism markets are for growth above the global growth trend in the next two years.
“Although China’s economy has slowed down, growth in China, India and Malaysia (emerging markets) is expected to outpace the global average rate of growth.
“Similarly, the economic growth of Australia’s leading Western tourism markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand is expected to exceed the average rate of growth forecast for advanced economies as well. Inbound tourism demand is likely to remain strong for the next few years.”
Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) chief executive, Margy Osmond, said the figures showed “that the tourism industry has the potential to be an economic and jobs powerhouse for the nation if we get are willing to get behind it.
“International and domestic tourists are expected to spend a combined AUD 112.6 billion over 2015-16 (up 4.5%) – that’s growing at nearly twice the rate of the national economy.
“Tourism is an industry that is on the move and now is the time for government to back it up with a renewed economic and investment strategy.
“Deloitte has identified tourism as one of the next big waves for the future of the Australian economy – it’s currently shaping up as a AUD 145.1 billion wave within 10 years but we can make it bigger if we are willing to roll out a bold plan that backs the industry now.
“More tourists, staying more nights, and spending more money, means more jobs for Australians and a wealthier nation.
“It’s an absolute no-brainer for government and industry to work together to put tourism into overdrive to take up the slack in the economy following the end of the mining boom.”
Written by Peter Needham