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Australia receives strong economic boost from tourism in 2007

New figures released show that international tourists delivered a $23.3 billion boost to the Australian economy in 2007, a six percent increase on 2006. Tourism Australia Managing Director, Geoff Buckley said the figures, from the latest International Visitors in Australia survey, confirmed that Australia’s strategy to encourage…

New figures released show that international tourists delivered a $23.3 billion boost to the Australian economy in 2007, a six percent increase on 2006. Tourism Australia Managing Director, Geoff Buckley said the figures, from the latest International Visitors in Australia survey, confirmed that Australia’s strategy to encourage travellers to spend more during their stay was on track.

“In 2007, we saw both international tourist numbers to Australia and how much they spend reach record levels,” Mr Buckley said. “This is an excellent result which highlights that our focus on growing visitor spend, and not just tourist arrivals, is working.

“During the year the markets delivering some of the largest increases in visitor spend included India (up 43 per cent), Malaysia (up 28 per cent), China (up 25 per cent) and New Zealand (up 13 per cent).

“The UK remained Australia’s largest single market in terms of economic value worth $3.5 billion, followed by New Zealand ($2.3 billion), the US ($2.1 billion) and China ($2 billion) for the 2007 calendar year.

“Expenditure in Australia by UK, US, Chinese and Korean visitors was highest in New South Wales ($745 million, $581 million, $738 million and $538 million respectively) while visitors from New Zealand and Japan spent more in Queensland than in any other state (spending $551 million and $505 million respectively in 2007),” he said.

Outside of the capital cities, Tropical North Queensland and the Gold Coast were the two big winners in terms of expenditure from international visitors in 2007 (receiving $1 billion and $924 million respectively) ahead of the Sunshine Coast ($208 million).

Mr Buckley said in the December 2007 quarter there was some slowing in visitor arrivals growth to Australia while strong growth in tourist spending continued.

“In the December 2007 quarter the number of visitors to Australia fell slightly (by two per cent compared to the previous year) but spending remained buoyant – up six per cent on the same period of 2006,” Mr Buckley said.

“During the December quarter increases in spend were highest amongst travellers from China (up 35 per cent) and India (up 48 per cent) – highlighting the importance of these two markets for future tourism growth.”

Mr Buckley said in spite of the strong results for international tourism in 2007 the industry would need to continue to work hard for Australia’s share of the tourist dollar in 2008.

“We know that the industry faces some challenges from increased competition, aviation constraints and economic factors. However, Australia has a great tourism product which travellers world-wide are keen to experience,” Mr Buckley said.

“Over the coming year our activities in 23 international markets will be looking to ensure that Australia continues to attract high spending international travellers – helping to ensure that Australia continues to reap the benefits from tourism,” Mr Buckley said.

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