The Tourism Research Australia International Visitor Survey for the March 2015 quarter (available here) shows some solid growth in international visitor numbers. Across the country visitors grew by 7.8% over the year to just under 6.5 million. Chinese numbers were up 18.6% for Australia as a whole while the US also saw strong growth up 9.6%. Japan and the UK both remained unchanged on the year while the rest of Europe was up 4.6%. NZ, still our largest international market, was up 4.6%.
Expenditure across the country rose by 10.0% with the average per visitor up 2.1% (just about keeping pace with inflation).
The story was similar in QLD where total numbers were up 7.0% with total expenditure up 10.6%. The average visitor expenditure rose a healthy 3.4%.
In TNQ we also saw good growth in visitor numbers but the break-down of those increases was quite unique. Total international visitors to TNQ were up by 7.3% with average expenditure rising by a very healthy 5.1%. However, unlike at the national level, Chinese visitor growth was a relatively sluggish 1.5%. Japan was up by a similar 1.3%. Visitor growth from the US (up 14.1%), UK (up 7.3%) and the rest of Europe (up 11.6%) were the drivers of the TNQ growth. Almost 70% of the 50,000 increase in visitors over the course of the year came from US, UK and Europe. As the second chart below shows, China still holds a dominant position for the region but these figures strongly suggest that (as we have been hinting at for some time) the China “boom” might be slacking off. As it does so it is certainly encouraging to see our more “traditional” markets starting to witness solid growth. Unfortunately, as the final chart shows, TNQ’s share of the international market continues to languish around the 11.5% level; well down from the heady days of nine years ago when it was above 17%.