Tourism

Who’s happy about lower AUD? Tourists

Daisy Melwani / AAP

Solid increase in overseas visitors: data

Record numbers of foreign travellers are coming to Australia and they are spending big and staying longer.

Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo said expenditure from international visitors went up by $5.5 billion to a record high of $36.6 billion last year.

The number of visitors was up eight per cent to 6.9 million.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan said the Australian tourism industry had saved it best 2015 quarter until last, rounding off an impressive 12 months of growth which had seen international spending increase 18% to $36.6 billion.

“These numbers don’t really need much talking up – they really speak for themselves. For us, the story is about yield, with international spending growing last year at more than twice the rate of our already strong international arrivals. This moves us another significant step closer towards achieving our Tourism 2020 targets. All our key markets made substantial contributions in 2015 and with an exciting new global campaign starting to roll out, we have the opportunity to maintain this momentum into 2016 and beyond,” he said.

Sullivan commented on TA’s Restaurant Australia focus which began in December 2013 saying “we have seen spend growth of 21.1% on F&W over the two-year period – an increase of $886 million. If you remember we set a two-year target back then to increase F&W spend by an additional $500 million, so we’ve exceeded that target by some way. So F&W remains an important component of trip spending, with one in five dollars spent in Australia on food and wine”.

However Tourism & Transport Forum Australia Margy Osmond is petitioning for the government to
“develop a strategy to make tourism a cornerstone of our economy”.

“We have just recently passed the milestone of more than one million Chinese visitors coming to Australia but that is still less than one per cent of the 130 million Chinese expected to head overseas this year.

“Chinese visitors spent an amazing $8.3 billion last year which is up 45 per cent on the previous year – we talk about the end of the mining boom, well here is the tourism boom and our potential market is only getting bigger and bigger each year.

“We are very pleased to have a dedicated Tourism Minister once again being a vocal advocate for the sector within the Federal Government.

“Minister Colbeck has overseen and championed some significant changes with additional flight capacity and visa reforms which are helping support these record-breaking figures.

“But there is so much more that can be done if we are prepared to roll up our sleeves and develop a stronger reform agenda for the tourism sector.

“The Government needs to continue to invest in Tourism Australia and the fantastic work it does marketing Australia overseas – that is money well spent with research showing every dollar invested generates a $15 return.

“Reducing the regulatory burden of coming to Australia for business or holiday is crucial especially for the lucrative Chinese market. We are still charging Chinese visitors $135 for a visa when other nations are paying as low as $20.

“Improving the visitor experience at our international gateways with new biometric technologies should also be a priority.”

Highlights for the December 2015 quarter included an overall spending up 21%, adding $1.8 billion to visitor spend, of which most came from China (up 44%), USA, (up 35%) and UK (up 27%). South Korea recorded the highest percentage growth of all TA’s target markets (up 51%).

For the year, total international visitor spend reached $36.6 billion, up 18% or $5.5 billion over the 12 month period, visitor spending grew faster (+18%) than international arrivals (+8%) and Chinese visitor spending grew 44%, reaching a record $8.3 billion and edging closer to the $9 billion figure originally forecasted for the market in 2010 when Tourism 2020 was launched.

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