Arrivals and Departures statistics for September from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show double digit increases from key source markets in Asia but more can be done to drive growth further, according to the Tourism and Transport Forum.
International arrivals for the month rose 4.5%, with annual arrivals for the year to September up 5.2%.
China once again led the way with visitors from the all-important market increasing by a third for the month. Annual growth from China now stands at 19%.
Singapore, Taiwan, India and the Philippines also displayed solid growth with 11.2%, 11%, 10.7% and 10.6% respectively.
TTF executive director Adele Labine-Romain highlighted leisure travel as the main area of growth with the number of holidaymakers arriving in Australia up 6.2% for the year ending September.
“Holiday visitors are the biggest travel segment, accounting for 45% of all international arrivals, and are also among the highest spending types of visitors,” she said.
“Australia is competing with other destinations around the world for these visitors and while this growth shows that Australia is a desirable destination, it also demonstrates the potential for further growth that improving our competitiveness could deliver.”
Labine-Romain reiterated the TTF’s view that tourism would benefit further from the streamlining of visa approval and passenger facilitation processes, expansion on the working holiday scheme, infrastructure investment.
“Tourism already directly employs more than 530,000 people across Australia and generates more than $107 billion in consumption every year.
“With the right policy settings, this contribution will continue to grow and Australia can reach its target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to $140 billion a year by 2020.”
Meanwhile, growth in departures outpaced that of arrivals with the number of Australians heading overseas rising 5.8% on September 2012. Annual departures climbed 6.1% on the previous 12 months.