Last year was exceptionally good for the Australian tourism industry. International tourists have generated $23.3 billion for the country’s economy. The number of international arrivals to Australia has reached 5.6 million. For example the number of UK visitors was boosted by the Ashes cricket series that lured many English cricket fans. The sums of money spent by visitors also rose. According to the Tourism Australia Managing Director, Geoff Buckley, their focus on growing visitor spend, and not just tourist arrivals, has worked.
Among the most valuable source markets is the United Kingdom, the US and China, respectively. In 2007, however, also other markets proved important. The number of visitors coming from India has risen by 43 per cent, from Malaysia by 28 per cent. Number of visitors arriving from China and New Zealand has risen by 25 per cent and by 13 per cent respectively.
New South Wales was the place where tourists from UK, US, China and Kora spent the highest sums of money last year. British spent $581 million, Americans $738 million, Chinese $738 and Koreans $538 million. Queensland has witnessed the highest spending from New Zealanders ($551 million) and from Japanese ($505 million). Apart from the capital cities, Tropical North Queensland and the Gold Coast were the two big earners who have capitalized most on foreign visitors’ spending. The first has earned $1 billion and the letter $924 million. Another big earner was the Sunshine Coast ($208 million).
In the first month of 2008, however, the country’s tourism has witnessed a slowdown. Compared with the January 2007 international visitor numbers have dropped by 2.6. There are some factors that cause this slowdown. Among them are aviation constraints and the increased value of the Australian dollar. The number of New Zealanders coming to Australia in January was lowered by bad weather. Nevertheless, Australian tourism officials believe the situation will improve during the year.