The release today by Tourism Research Australia of the International Visitor Survey for the final quarter of 2015 shows the boom in the Australia tourism industry still well in place.
Total international visitors to Australia rose by 7.9% for the year to 6.9 million (a new record high), expenditure was up by 18.9% while average expenditure per visitor rose by 10.2%. The stand-out success states were (again) Victoria where visits rose by 14% and Tasmania which was up 20%.
Queensland also did well with total visitor numbers up 8.8% to 2.3 million (also a new high), expenditure up by 18.8% and average expenditure per visitor up 9.2%. Queensland attracted 34.1% of all international visitors, which is a good turnaround after a period of weakness and the best result in 2 years.
Unfortunately the improvements were nowhere near as healthy in TNQ. Here we saw visitor numbers up by 5.7% with the average expenditure per visitor growing by just 4.6%. Although these are significantly weaker than the State or Nation as a whole they are at least an improvement on previous quarters. TNQ’s share of the international visitor market remains stuck just below the 11.5% level having fallen from the heady heights of over 18% some 16 years ago.
When we consider the TNQ data in more data we see the continued importance of the Chinese market. Chinese visits to TNQ were up 10.9% over the year and now make up 22.2% of all international visitors to the region (a new record). Compare that to the Nation as a whole where Chinese visits rose by 21.4% although they still only make up 13.9% of the total. The Chinese market is of vital importance to the region but, and despite very strong absolute growth, the region is lagging badly behind the rest of the country.
One area, perhaps surprisingly, where TNQ has done very well is the United States. Visitors from the USA to TNQ rose by a thumping 16.6% over the year and are now at a level not seen for more than 8 years. In Australia visits from the USA were up just 9.8%. Other traditional markets for the region were relatively weak; Japan up just 5.2% while the UK disappointed with growth of just 4%.