Australia’s world-class tourism industry has experienced a record-breaking year with significant increases in international visitor arrivals and tourism expenditure.
Tourism bodies are hailing the report, saying it shows why Australia’s governments, state and federal, should back the industry.
Australia’s Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator Richard Colbeck, said Tourism Research Australia’s State of the Industry 2015 report showed international tourism was performing excellently, with inbound arrivals increasing by 6.6% to a record 6.6 million arrivals in 2014-15.
“Arrivals from New Zealand lead the way with 1.2 million inbound tourists. However, both China (up 21.7% to 864,000 visitors) and India (up 19.9% to 207,000) continue to drive growth in inbound arrivals.
“International tourism expenditure also reached a new high of AUD 33.4 billion in 2014-15 following growth of 10% which is the strongest expenditure recorded for a financial year since the Sydney Olympic Games.”
Colbeck said the report also showed Australia’s domestic tourism is thriving: 83.2 million overnight trips were recorded last financial year which is the highest on record.
“Overnight visitor expenditure increased 4% to a total of AUD 55.4 billion and total overnight expenditure increased 6.3% to AUD 88.8 billion.
“Furthermore, the total value of the tourism investment pipeline increased by a net AUD 4.3 billion to AUD 53.7 billion in 2014.”
Tourism is generator of jobs. The Australian Tourism Labour Force Report found recently that an additional 123,000 workers, including 60,000 skilled workers, would be needed to meet visitor demand by 2020.
Colbeck noted that there was no room for complacency if Australia was to meet its 2020 targets. Continued focus on international aviation capacity; labour and skills shortages, infrastructure and visa reform was needed for the country to reach its potential.
Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) said the record-breaking performance by Australia’s tourism sector in 2014-15 was “just another reason” why governments should provide further investment in the industry in the aftermath of the mining boom.
“International tourism expenditure has grown in the past year by a whopping 10.4% to AUD 33.4 billion – that is an amazing performance that other sectors of the Australian economy would love to match,” TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said.
“The world continues its love affair with Australia with a record 6.6 million international visitors arriving on our shores – China and India continue to drive strong growth that will see over 10 million international visitors within the next decade.
“Tourism is a robust industry that can provide so much more economic growth and job creation for Australians if we have a co-ordinated plan between government and the industry to take it even further.”
Written by Peter Needham