The Chinese market once again spearheaded inbound arrivals growth in 2015, with the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealing it as a record year for tourism.
Over the course of the year, 7.4 million people travelled to Australia, up 8.2% on the previous year.
China led the growth, with numbers climbing 21.9% on 2014 to 1.02 million. India followed in second place climbing 18.6% on the previous year to 230.100. In third place was South Korea with 230,100 visitors for the year – an increase of 12.7%.
2015 Top 10 Overseas Arrivals League Table
|Country of Origin||Arrivals||Increase/Decrease|
|1. New Zealand||1,309,900||5.5%|
|9. South Korea||230,100||12.7%|
|10. Hong Kong||219,700||9.0%|
Source: ABS Overseas Arrivals
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said December’s strong arrivals figures rounded off what has been another “impressive year” for Australian tourism, with international visitor numbers and spending achieving record levels.
“The large numbers of Chinese tourists celebrating Lunar New Year in Australia this week has been wonderful to see and further evidence of Asia’s continued and ever increasing importance,” he said.
“But it’s not all about Asia. The healthy state of our visitor economy is founded upon a balanced portfolio and it’s worth noting that all but one of Tourism Australia’s 17 key inbound markets enjoyed growth in 2015.”
The one key inbound market was Italy which saw a decline of 1.8%, with Europe as a whole increasing just 2.9% against North East Asia’s 14.7% .
Meanwhile, Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) chief executive Margy Osmond further highlighted the industry’s strong performance.
“There are very few industry sectors in Australia at the moment that can claim to be seeing consecutive years of strong growth as we can say about tourism,” she said.
“This is what happens when you invest in the tourism sector – you see a strong uptick in visitor numbers and that means more Australian jobs and more economic activity in our cities and regional communities.”
However, more must be done, according to Osmond who called for more investment from federal, state and territory governments.
“We need a stronger partnership between government and industry that puts tourism at the heart of Australia’s future economic growth strategy to help fill the post-mining boom void,” she said.
Managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council Peter Shelley additionally called on the government and policy makers to “actively remove” any barriers to growth that “may be the result of government policy settings”. Shelley gave improving the visa system, building on marketing campaigns and addressing key industry issues such as labour shortages as examples.