Tourism arrival figures riding high

FOR the first time in almost a decade, the number of tourists arriving down under has grown at the same annual rate as the number of overseas trips Australians are taking.

The Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures from the Bureau of Statistics released on Tuesday show international arrivals grew 4.9 per cent in the 12 months to the end of February.

That matches the rate of Australians travelling overseas.

Peak industry body Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) boss Trent Zimmerman says it's the first time since late 2003 the figures have matched.

"The moderation in growth of outbound travel ... is a further indication that Australians have adjusted to the strong Australian dollar as the new normal," he said in a statement.

"We hope that this will translate into a continuation of the recovery in domestic tourism, which accounts for around 70 per cent of expenditure in Australia's visitor economy."

Mr Zimmerman said the figures also show Lunar New Year drove a significant increase in Chinese arrivals in February.

"More than 110,000 Chinese visitors came to Australia in February, the biggest number of Chinese arrivals in a single month."

Almost one in five international visitors that month came from China.

Australian Tourism Export Council Chairman John King said it's clear the strong demand from the Middle Kingdom is showing no signs of waning.

"It is also an important time for Australia to be investing more marketing effort into China and ATEC welcomes the announcement of a "G'day China" campaign similar to that run in the United States."

While the UK remains soft Mr King said there were signs of improvements out of Europe and the United Kingdom.

"We now have a significant opportunity to broaden our market base - securing and strengthening our traditional markets while building a vast market base out of China for years to come."


Posted On : 10 April,2013