Tourism to Australia: Growth Steady but Slowing ·

Tourism to Australia: Growth Steady but Slowing

The latest figures on international tourism arrivals to Australia, released yesterday by Tourism Australia, contain generally good news for Australia’s inbound tourism industry. However, it is clear that growth has slowed from some of Australia’s key source markets. In the year ending 30 September 2018, Australia welcomed 9.164 million international tourists representing a 5.6% growth over the previous year. Overall the growth of Australian inbound tourism is line with world average growth of 6% based on UN World Tourism Organisation figures.

The good news for Tourism Australia is that some markets are showing excellent growth. This is especially true of most ASEAN countries including Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia which are growing well above 10%. Latin America (especially Brazil and Agentina) is growing very strongly as is Canada and India. It appears that the Japanese have rediscovered Australia as a destination and almost 500,000 Japanese visited Australia in the 2017-18 year.

However, while China remained Australia’s leading source market for international tourism (1.42 million in the year 2017-18) the growth of Chinese tourism over the past year has slowed to about 7% compared to the double digit rates of year on year growth in previous years. In October 2018, Professor Bob Mc Kercher from Hong Kong Polytech predicted that outbound Chinese tourism would slow due to the fact that China’s high rate of economic growth could not be maintained indefinitely.

China is not alone among Australia’s top source markets experiencing relative stagnation. The United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Korea are all significant inbound markets for Australia representing over three million visitors between them. Over the past year growth from these markets has been minimal.

Of course, success in destination marketing is not only about the number of visitors. Tourism Australia has traditionally enjoyed oustanding success in targeting tourists who spend significant sums of money and who stay for a long perod.

The slow rate of growth from Australia’s principal source markets (China, New Zealand, UK and USA) over the past year is not cause for panic but a reality check. Australia has enjoyed spectacular tourism growth from China and the USA during the past few years and 10% + year on year growth cannot last forever. Global economic uncertainty , which is very much in evidence this year, is likely to slow global tourism growth from the second half of 2018 and well into 2019. Australian tourism remains bouyant and I, along with many other tourism professionals look forward to Tourism Australia’s industry briefings this week to give us a broader picture of how Australian tourism is performing.

For a more detailed picture of Australian tourism arrival statistics CLICK HERE

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