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Delight as latest figures show depth of visitation boom

October 10, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) figures underscore the depth of Australia’s inbound tourism boom, with arrivals growth tapering off a little but visitors spending more – exactly the sort of result the country’s tourism chiefs have been aiming for.

Australia saw record numbers of international visitors (aged 15 years and over) for the year to June 2019 with 8.6 million arrivals – 3% more than the previous year. This supported strong growth of 5% in total trip spend, which reached a record AUD 44.6 billion.

Growth continues to be led by education and holiday travel. Education visitors were up 5% to 586,000, and spend a stronger 8% to a record AUD 12.7 billion.  Holiday visitors were up 4% to almost 4 million, while spend grew 6% to a high of AUD 16.9 billion.

The average length of international trips has fallen six nights over the last six years to 32 nights but spend per night has increased 26% from AUD 129 to AUD 163.

Growth was impressive for the Japanese market, with visitors up 9% to 445,000, and spend up 16%, reaching AUD 2.0 billion, Austrade reported. There was also a 9% increase in spending by US visitors to AUD 4 billion.

India has seen the strongest growth over the past three years with visitor numbers increasing 53% to 350,000, and spend 68% to AUD 1.8 billion over this period. India is now ranked 7th for number of incoming international visitors compared with 15th back in June 2006.

Overall, Australia’s international visitor market continues to grow, with fewer visitors spending more during their stay and delivering another AUD 2bn to the Australian economy over the past 12 months.

Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) managing director Peter Shelley says the huge growth in visitor numbers seen in previous years is starting to taper but the quality of the visitor and their engagement with our product is showing no sign of slowing down.

“Today’s International Visitor Survey (IVS) shows a modest growth in the number of visitors coming to Australia compared to previous double digit highs, but the growth in spend is continuing to hold up,” Shelley said.

“While the size of the growth has slowed, what we are seeing is a change in the profile of visitors from several markets – a result of recent promotional campaigns which focus on attracting higher spending visitors who stay longer.

“In the past few years we have seen a transition within the China market, where we now have significant growth in small group, more independent and more affluent visitors compared to what was typically a large group market in previous years.

“Similarly in the US we are seeing their spending increase as they look for a more immersive Australian experience highlighted during the Dundee campaign, which was aimed at attracting high spending American visitors.”

Shelley said Japan was enjoying a renewed love of Australia with both arrivals and spending up considerably.

“Japan is a market that has reconnected with Australia over the past few years and initiatives like the new direct ANA flights to Perth will help to further strengthen this relationship.

“At the same time the UK, one of our largest and long term markets, is still severely troubled by the lack of stability and uncertainty caused by Brexit but we look forward to seeing this market return to strength in coming years.

“Today’s numbers are pleasing given there are several geo-political factors at play impacting global travel. The numbers show our established markets remain solid, with new markets including India continuing on a significant growth trajectory, and that spending as a key performance metric continues to grow.”
New International Visitor Survey figures show that visitors from Canada and Japan are most likely to venture outside of the capital cities, than the average tourists with growth in both markets being beneficial to regional tourism across Australia.

Commenting on the figures, Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) chief executive Margy Osmond said “this is a great news story, and everyone involved should take some time to soak up the results.”

“The data is telling us that Japans love-affair with Australia is growing stronger and that they are keen to travel outside the capital cities to really explore our great country.”

Across the country the Japanese market showed impressive growth up by 9% to 445,000 visitors as the market returns to stronger levels.

NSW showed significant gains in markets of the United States and Japan with 522,000 US visitors in the year ending June 2019 who generated AUD 853 million in tourism spend (up 18 per cent) and 205,000 Japanese visitors who generated AUD 402 million for the State.

Japan has now surpassed Korea in the State’s top five source markets, joining China, US, New Zealand and United Kingdom.

The ACT has led the country in terms of international visitor growth while Queensland visitors are spending up big with a record 28 million domestic and international tourists spent more than ever before.

“Nationally we have seen visitation up by 3% and spending up by 5% which is a great outcome,” Osmond said.

“However, promoting tourism is and always will be an ongoing process and we need to keep our foot on the pedal, we all have a role to play in this game,” Osmond said.

“While several of our key markets including China, New Zealand and the US are very important to the visitor economy, we need to ensure we keep working to be attractive to a broad range of international markets”.

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