Published on : Wednesday, February 6, 2013
China’s importance to Australia’s tourism industry has again been highlighted, with new figures showing the number of Chinese visitors to Australia jumped 15.5 per cent in 2012, according to peak industry body, Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
December Overseas Arrivals and Departures data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show international arrivals to Australia rose 4.6 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011, with the strongest growth from China. Monthly arrivals grew 7.0 per cent overall and 13.2 per cent from China.
TTF Acting Chief Executive Trent Zimmerman said the overall result was above expectations.
“Annual growth of 4.6 per cent is double the official forecast, showing that Australia remains a desirable destination for visitors from across the globe,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“In particular, we are seeing continuing growth from our near neighbours in Asia, with strong increases in arrivals Malaysia (up 8.9%), Singapore (up 7.8%), and India (up 7.5 %), and a continuing recovery in arrivals from Japan (up 6.4%).
“Pleasingly, we have also seen 4.9 per cent growth from the US – our fourth largest source market.
“It is testament to Australia’s tourism offering and the efforts of Tourism Australia in focusing its marketing and promotional activities in those growth markets in Asia.
“It is also testament to the efforts of Australian tourism operators, who are working hard to ensure they are prepared to capitalise on the opportunity presented by the rise in arrivals from China and other Asian nations.”
Mr Zimmerman said it’s vital the tourism industry is supported by government.
“With the federal election set down for 14 September, TTF is calling on all sides of politics to commit to at the very least maintaining funding for tourism marketing and infrastructure investment,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“Tourism directly employs more than 500,000 people and indirectly employs a further 400,000 people across Australia, providing business and job opportunities in every electorate in the country.
“We are also seeking commitments to expanding the working holiday maker scheme to more of our growth markets in Asia, including China, and for no further increases in tourism taxes and charges.
“Our competitiveness as a destination is already affected by the persistent strength of the Australian dollar without additional fee hikes further increasing the burden on our international visitors.”