International visitors to Australia spent a record AUD 37.9 billion in the year ending March 2016, 17% or AUD 5.4 billion more than the previous year, according to the latest International Visitor Survey results released yesterday by Tourism Research Australia (TRA).
The number of visitors aged 15 years and over reached 7.1 million, increasing by 575,000 (9%) from the previous year, and nights were up 8% to 248 million.
Spending by tourists increased across the top-five markets:
- China: spend increased 38% to AUD 8.9 billion, visitors increased 23% and nights 15%.
- UK: spend increased 10% to AUD 3.9 billion and visitors 5%. Nights fell 2%.
- USA: spend increased 22% to AUD 3.6 billion, visitors increased 12% and nights 9%.
- New Zealand: spend up 6% to AUD 2.6 billion, visitors increased 5% and nights 2%.
- Japan: spend increased 10% to AUD 1.5 billion, visitors increased 12% and nights 7%.
New Zealand and China accounted for almost one-third (31%) of total visitors to Australia (1.2 and 1 million, respectively). China also contributed almost one-quarter (23%) to total trip spend, while Australia’s top five markets (China, UK, USA, New Zealand and Japan) contributed just over half (54%) to total trip spend.
Holiday and education visitation experienced strong growth, with holiday visitors up 16%, nights up 12% and spend up 21% (AUD 2.7 billion) to AUD 15.4 billion. China (51%), India (41%), USA (36%) and Korea (29%) saw the largest increases in holiday spend.
Meanwhile, education visitors and nights grew by 19%and 15% respectively, which resulted in a 30% growth in spend (AUD 2.1 billion) to AUD 9.3 billion for the year.
Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) visitors showed growth of 2%, with nights up 3% and spend up 7% to AUD 5.8 billion. Employment saw moderate increases with visitors up 8%, nights up 5%, and spend up 9% to AUD 2.7 billion. Leisure travel (holiday and VFR combined) contributed more than half (56%) of total trip spend for the year, while education contributed one-quarter (25%).
Travel Groups. There was strong growth for friends and/or relatives travelling
together (up 17%), adult couples (up 13%) and family groups – parents and children (up 10%). Unaccompanied travellers showed good growth of 6%.
Accommodation. Nights at an educational institution saw an increase of 20%,
as did sharing economy accommodation types, such as homestay (up 19%) and private accommodation (not friend or relative) (up 17%).
Activities. There was significant growth in visits to wineries (28%); farms (14%); historical sites and monuments (18%); festivals and cultural events (16%); botanical gardens (14%); national parks (13%); and beaches (12%). There was also a notable 23% increase in participation in sailing, windsurfing and kayaking.
Strong growth in expenditure saw increases for spend on package tours (up 22% to AUD 4.4 billion), shopping (up 21% to AUD 3.8 billion), and food, drink and accommodation (up 12% to AUD 11 billion).
Transport. Over the March quarter 2016, 229,000 or 11% of international
visitors used Uber. Visitors who were most likely to use the service were from the UK (20%), USA (17%) and Scandinavia (17%). Visitors from Japan (3%) and Thailand (6%) were least likely to use Uber.
Edited by Peter Needham