Published on : Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Strong growth in international arrivals underlines both the value and potential of tourism to the Australian economy and shows why tourism is integral to the government’s trade mission to Asia this week, according to peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
The latest ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures show international arrivals up 9.8 per cent in the first two months of 2014, with arrivals from Malaysia up 19.0 per cent, China up 18.5 per cent, Vietnam up 17.8 per cent, Thailand up 16.7 per cent, Singapore up 16.4 per cent, and Hong Kong up 13.9 per cent for the period.
Combining January and February smooths out any monthly variations caused by the timing of Chinese New Year.
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said Asia continues to drive Australia’s tourism growth.
“Australia welcomed more than 100,000 additional visitors in January and February 2014 than we did in 2013 and half that growth comes from just six countries in Asia,” Mr Morrison said.
“This emphasises the economic opportunity tourism offers to Australia as the Asian middle class continues to grow, with the World Travel and Tourism Council estimating Asia Pacific tourism spending will top US $400 billion next year.
“However, resting on our laurels will see Australia overtaken by other countries which have also recognised this opportunity and are moving to improve their tourism offering.
“We are encouraged by the inclusion of a tourism delegation as part of Australia Week in China 2014 and are confident the mission will help to promote Australia as a destination as well as ascertaining any barriers to the further growth of visitors from China and other Asian countries.
“Understanding what makes Australia an attractive destination and what we can do to make Australia more competitive is crucial to ensuring we capitalise on the Asian people boom and make the most of our proximity to Asia.
“Yet, while visitation from Asia is growing quickly, we are also seeing good strong growth from traditional markets like the UK, USA and New Zealand, which between them have provided an extra 29,900 visitors in the first two months of 2014.
“This shows the need to continue to support Tourism Australia’s marketing efforts across the globe as well as considering reforms to make it easier for more international tourists to come to Australia.”