We’ve managed to get our hands on some supplemental data from this week’s International Visitor Survey for the year to March 2018 (see our post from earlier here) which confirms that the very poor performance for the TNQ region is due in no small part to a quite dramatic slide in the number of Chinese visitors coming to the region.
For the year to March 2018 Chinese visitors to TNQ were at 203,839 which is a 6.7% decline from the same period a year ago. Bearing in mind that the Chinese New Year falls in the March quarter, and was generally seen as something of a disaster in Cairns in 2017 due to cancelled charter flights, the decline looks even more worrying. Since the peak in Chinese visitor numbers to TNQ in the December 2016 quarter numbers have fallen by more than 25,000, or 11.2%. This decline comes during a period in which total Chinese visitor numbers to Australia have risen by 15.8%. Clearly the gloss has come off Cairns and TNQ as a destination for the Chinese visitor; the question the industry needs to address is “why?”.
With no major market to Cairns showing signs of solid growth (the US was the best managing a 1.5% increase) it’s not hard to see why totals international visitor numbers to the region are down 1.1%.