Overseas visitors break tourism records

Australian tourism exports are breaking records as international visitors are spending more and staying longer.

Last year saw the highest-ever growth in international visitor expenditure in dollar terms, with an 18 per cent increase during 2015 to a record high of $36.6 billion – an impressive rise of $5.5 billion in just one year. This is the largest increase on record and the highest percentage growth since the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey, released last week, also revealed that international visitor numbers increased eight per cent to 6.9 million and nights were up 11 per cent to 248.1 million, also new record highs.

Australia’s desirability as a global tourism destination has been boosted by the government’s efforts to increase flight capacity, our visa reforms and targeted international marketing campaigns, as well as the lower value of the Australian dollar.

Improving tourism infrastructure is also one of the government’s five National Investment Priorities – another way we are backing the growth of our tourism industry, which supports employment for around one million people.

As the economy transitions from the mining investment boom, the government is intent on diversifying our economy and strengthening our tourism industry.

One of our aims under the Tourism 2020 Strategy is to encourage more investment and visitation in regional areas, so it’s great news the survey shows strong growth in regional tourism.

With 44 cents in every tourism dollar now spent in regional areas, the survey showed visits to farms increased by 14 per cent, national or state parks increased by 13 per cent and visits to wineries increased by a remarkable 37 per cent.

Record total trip spend was recorded from nine key markets; China, the US, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and France.

The number of visitors from China increased 21 per cent while expenditure increased 45 per cent to reach a new record high of $8.3 billion. This followed 1 million visitors to Australia for the first time in 2015.

Expenditure from India increased by 38 per cent to reach a new record high of $1.1 billion, partly boosted by the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.

US visitors increased in number by 10 per cent, nights were up by 15 per cent and expenditure up by 22 per cent to reach a new record high of $3.4 billion.

Australia’s strong international education sector is attracting more and more visitors, with numbers up 21 per cent and nights up 20 per cent. This saw total trip spend for education visitors’ increase by 30 per cent for the year to $8.7 billion.

The holiday market increased substantially during the year with holiday visitor numbers up 10 per cent, nights up by seven per cent while expenditure increased 16 per cent to reach a record $14.3 billion.

Solid growth occurred in visitation for those travelling to Australia to visit friends and relatives, with visitor numbers up seven per cent, nights up nine per cent and expenditure up 16 per cent to reach $5.9 billion.

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