China set to become number one source market in tourist arrivals for Australia

According to the latest forecasts released by Tourism Research Australia (TRA), Chinese overseas visitor arrivals will overtake New Zealanders as the number one source of inbound arrivals, spending the most tourism dollars by 2017-18.

The tourism body says Australia tourism has become much more important as the country ‘transitions to a more diversified service-based economy’ and it even believes it ‘has the potential to be Australia’s fastest growing industry’.

Tourism Research Australia stated, “The most recent satellite accounts show that tourism Gross Domestic Product grew 7.4% in 2015-16, well ahead of the rest of the economy. By the end of 2020, it is forecast that total tourism spend, excluding day trips, will reach A$131 billion.”

The tourism body also predicts that international tourism will increase its share of visitor dollars, with the inbound visitor spend expected to grow strongly and this share to rise from 33% in 2016-17 to 44% in 2026-27 at the same time that domestic tourism is expected to register ‘moderate growth.’

By 2017-18, China is expected to overtake New Zealand as the largest source of both inbound arrivals and inbound spend at the same time that total international visitor numbers are forecast to rise by 13.1% from 8.6 million in 2016-17 to 9.2 million in 2017-18, and once again to 9.7 million in 2018-19.

The main forecast rises are expected to be led by China, with a 26.4% increase from 1.3 million visitors in 2016-17 to 1.6 million in 2018-19. India will be second, up 21.1% from 278,000 visitors in 2016-17 to 337,000 in 2018-19, followed by Japan with a forecast rise of 15.1%, from 427,000 visitors in 2016-17 to 492,000 in 2018-19.

Tourism Research Australia said the bottom line is that Asia will account for over half of all visitors to Australia during 2018-19, compared with 48% in 2016-17. TRA said, “Asia will also account for 64% of all visitor growth between these two time points, with China alone making a 29% contribution, followed by Japan (5.7%) and India (5.2%).”