Another record year for international tourism

International visitors to Australia spent a record $33.4 billion over the year to June 2015, or around $91 million each and every day, TTF CEO Margy Osmond said today.

Total visitor expenditure grew by more than 10 per cent over the 2014/15 financial year – setting a new benchmark for the highest annual growth rate on record – according to the latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) results released today by Tourism Research Australia.

“Australia’s stellar performance continues to be underpinned by strong growth in spending by Chinese visitors,” Margy Osmond said.

“Chinese visitors were responsible for $7 billion of the total spend, or around one-fifth of the total spent by international visitors.

“Total spending by Chinese visitors also grew by 32 per cent over the 2014/15 financial year, which is the highest growth rate on record for Chinese visitors.

“This expenditure supports both jobs and business confidence across Australia, in cities and in regional areas, and across a range of service providers such as accommodation providers, restaurants, bars and visitor attractions.

“To capitalise on this strong growth in international visitor spending we must ensure Australia remains welcoming and competitive internationally as a must-visit destination.

“We need further reform to our visa system to make it easier and cheaper for visitors from our major markets such as China to come to Australia. What we see at the moment is visitors to Australia from mainland China paying around seven times more for their visas than visitors from Hong Kong or the United States.

“Other countries recognise the economic benefits generated by Chinese tourists and are taking visa reform seriously in order to capture their share of the burgeoning and valuable Chinese market. For example, the Canadian government reduced their visa fees early last year to promote tourism and the South Korean government introduced a $90 (USD) 5-year multiple entry to encourage Chinese visitors. We must adopt the same mentality.

“We also need to invest more in destination marketing to make sure Australia, as a great tourist destination, is front and centre in the minds of the 200 million Chinese expected to travel abroad in 2020.

“Investments in transport infrastructure are also crucial. We must build links to airports like Melbourne’s Tullamarine and Sydney’s Badgerys Creek, as well as invest in demand-driven infrastructure like national parks, cultural institutions, convention centres and urban open spaces.”