Air expansion leads to tourist growth

Additional aviation capacity from Asia is encouraging visitation from our most important growth markets, driving growth in tourism activity and expenditure, according to the Tourism & Transport Forum.

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey shows while the number of overseas tourists rose by 4.9% in the year ending March 2013, the number of nights international visitors spent in Australia grew 7.1%, with spending up 5.4%.

Chinese arrivals grew 17.0%, while the number of nights Chinese visitors spent in Australia grew by 13.1%, with expenditure up from $2.8 billion to $3.4 billion over the year.

TTF chief executive Ken Morrison said the growth from Asian markets is underpinned by increased aviation capacity to Australia. “National inbound seat capacity rose 3.7% in the year ending March, representing 715,000 additional seats, taking the total number of seats to 19.9 million,” Mr Morrison said.

“In particular we have seen seat growth out of China, Singapore and Malaysia which is contributing to the strong growth we are seeing from those countries. From China alone there were an additional 113,000 seats on flights to Australia.

“This includes direct flights to Cairns which are giving Chinese visitors convenient access to the Great Barrier Reef.”

Mr Morrison said signs for continuing growth are positive.

“Emirates is showing further confidence in the Australian international market this week upgrading a second daily Dubai-Sydney service to the Airbus A380-800, increasing capacity by 1890 seats per week or 38%,” Mr Morrison said.

“Darwin Airport and Brisbane Airport are both benefitting from new Philippines Airlines flights and we are also confident the recent Etihad-Virgin Australia and Qantas-Emirates partnerships are opening up marketing of Australia in essential long-haul markets such as Europe.”

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