International tourism is growing faster than most other industry sectors and in the 12 months to last December brought in a record $41.3 billion – around $3.5 billion a month in valuable foreign currency.
That’s a six per cent growth on the previous year – or $2.2 billion – and all states apart from Western Australia are sharing the boom, according to International Visitor Survey figures released today by Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo.
The overseas paying customers are supporting around 100,000 Australian jobs.
Our visitors are moving beyond the tourist hubs of Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Tasmania had a 31 per cent increase in spending by foreign visitors, bringing in a relatively modest $497 million. But that represents a 90 per cent increase over three years.
Our most lucrative tourists again were the Chinese who spent $10.4 billion over the year, a 14 per cent increase and a quarter of all foreign tourism income.
Minister Ciobo credits a 2017 tourism promotion in China and successful negotiations for new airline links between the two countries.
Americans also leave a lot of money behind. Their spending grew by three per cent to $3.8 billion. The government hopes to “supercharge” the US interest in Australia with a promotion based on a new Crocodile Dundee theme.
The objective is to increase the US market to $6 billion by 2020.
Other top performers for the year included India and Hong Kong. India recorded the strongest growth with visitors spending a record $1.4 billion, a 16 per cent increase.
NSW continued to be the drawcard state where foreign visitors spent $10.4 billion, a nine per cent rise on the previous year.
Victoria was next with $7.65 billion in spending, an 11 per cent rise.
Queensland took in $5.3 billion, a four per cent improvement while depending in South Australia rose 18 per cent to $1.15 billion.
Only in Western Australia was the boom denied. Spending retreated five per cent, but was an impressive $2.3 billion for the year.