China continues to spearhead Asian tourism boom

China is set to overtake New Zealand for the first time as Australia’s biggest source of international visitors within months if current trends continue, the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) said today.

TTF Chief Executive, Margy Osmond, said the latest Overseas Arrival Data (OAD) released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today shows China is within a whisker of overtaking perennial leader New Zealand after recording double-digit growth in the number of visitors in the 12 months to July 2017.

“The gap between New Zealand and China is closing by the day, with NZ now only 65,000 visitors ahead of China which is growing at five times the pace,” Ms Osmond said.

“While China is leading the charge, there continues to be solid growth across Asia, with seven of our top ten source markets in Asia and double-digit growth in a number of Asian countries including Japan (11.7 per cent), South Korea (10.2 per cent) and Hong Kong (10.1 per cent).

“Percentage wise, the biggest mover in the top 10 has been India, with international arrivals 15.5 per cent higher in the year to July 2017 compared to the year to July 2016, which represents an additional 38,100 arrivals over the past 12 months.”

Ms Osmond said that while the latest figures were fantastic news for Australia’s visitor economy, it would be a mistake to remain complacent with the 8.1 per cent increase in the total number of visitors the slowest annual growth rate since December 2015.

“While there is much to celebrate in the news we welcomed 8.6 million overseas visitors in the year to July 2017, we cannot afford to take this growth for granted and must continue to invest in measures such as destination marketing to ensure that our tourism sector continues its current golden run well into the future,” Ms Osmond said.

July 2016 July 2017 Change (No.) Change (%)
1 New Zealand 1,327,500 1,353,700 26,200 2.0
2 China 1,170,100 1,288,700 118,600 10.1
3 USA 675,800 763,800 88,000 13.0
4 UK 705,300 724,100 18,800 2.7
5 Singapore 421,700 431,000 9,300 2.2
6 Japan 385,000 430,700 45,100 11.7
7 Malaysia 365,300 396,400 31,100 8.5
8 South Korea 261,400 288,000 26,600 10.2
9 India 245,400 283,500 38,100 15.5
10 Hong Kong 237,800 261,800 24,000 10.1