The outlook for Australian tourism has not been more encouraging since pre-Global Financial Crisis, according to a recent report.
The 2015 Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook report from Deloitte Access Economics states the hotel supply pipeline is stable, and positive demand is pushing hotel performance.
The overarching message was that despite a shaky 12 months for global economies, tourism down under has not look this good since before the GFC.
China is slowing, but growth remains in a healthy area, while the drop in local currency is actually working in our favour.
Domestic overnight travel experienced a high-flying year in 2014, with visitor trips growing 5%, and visitor nights jumping by 6.7%. This was particularly optimistic for visitor night numbers, which leapt from 1.2% in March, marking the fastest growing pace in two decades.
The key drivers of this growth were corporate travel and visits to friends and relatives (VFR), with business trips contributing an extra 1.1 million trips over the year and the VFR market adding 2.3 million trips, while domestic leisure travel went in reverse, dropping 1%.
And while outbound departures grew 5.2% over the year, the numbers are still waning, representing a medium term forecast of between 3-3.5% compared to double digit highs five years ago.
Overall, international visitor arrivals grew by 8.2% over the year to September – the fastest rate in over a decade – with visitor growth from China sticking to its double digit pace, albeit not strong enough to beat markets of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, all posting growth in excess of 14%.
On the traditional market front, improved economic conditions in the UK and US continued to spur arrivals from these important legacy markets. In fact, visitation from the US is growing at its fastest pace since the Sydney Olympics, while on the European front, the economy kept the market sluggish, with no nations among the top ten.
Destination Australia again outperformed other developed countries in the global tourism stakes, with arrivals growth well clear of US, UK or France, but Aussies had steep competition in the likes of Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore, all leaps ahead of Australia.