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Australian tourism figures up for November 2002 but flat for 2002

New figures released last week show international visitor arrivals to Australia were up by 16 per cent for the…

New figures released last week show international visitor arrivals to Australia were up by 16 per cent for the month of November, however overall growth is expected to remain flat for the year, Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) Managing Director, Ken Boundy said.

While the figures released today look impressive, the reality is that there was a massive slump in visitor arrivals towards the end of 2001, Mr Boundy said. November 2001 was the worst month since 1998 for international visitor arrivals to Australia.

There are some positive trends emerging in key tourism markets, including Japan and the UK, with ongoing improvement in consumer confidence.

A strong November for visitors from Japan has boosted arrivals out of this market by four per cent for the 11 months to November 2002. This is encouraging, given that outbound travel from Japan is flat – highlighting that Australia is increasing its share of the market.

Tourist numbers from Japan slumped during the final the quarter of 2001 with most of this decline resulting from a loss of school groups travelling to Australia. However, these groups are now beginning to return.

Growth out of Japan, and in some Asian markets has also been fostered by the launch of Australian Airlines which has opened up new routes and new opportunities to increase capacity out of Asia.

Australia continues to be a favourite amongst Chinese travellers, with visitor arrivals up 45 per cent compared to November 2001 and forward bookings from the market indicate a strong Chinese New Year period.

Mr Boundy said the United Kingdom, the third largest market for tourists to Australia, delivered 539,400 visitors in the eleven months to November, an increase of three per cent compared to the same time last year.

UK remains a key focus for ATC activities, with a new campaign to be launched next week which will further help to stimulate demand in travelling to Australia, he said.

Despite an improvement in the number of US visitors, arrivals are down by 3 per cent for the eleven months to November 2002.

Mr Boundy said 2003 is a critical year for the industry, as the sector looks to recover from a year of decline.

There is pent up demand for travel to Australia across key tourism markets, however the challenge is to convert this interest into actual holiday bookings. Full recovery is not guaranteed.

Highlights of the latest Overseas Arrivals data

A total of 437,000 visitors during November 2002, up 16 per cent on November 2001. This increase has reduced rate of decline for 2002 from 2 per cent (Jan to Oct 2002) to 1 per cent (Jan to Nov 2002).

Key Results (for the 11 months to November 2002 vs same period for 2001)

  • UK – Arrivals up 3 per cent
  • NZ – Visitor arrivals down 3 per cent
  • Japan – Visitor arrivals up 4 per cent
  • USA – Visitor arrivals down 3 per cent
  • China – Arrivals up 19 per cent
  • Malaysia – Visitor arrivals up 7 per cent
  • Korea – Arrivals up 13 per cent
  • Singapore – Visitor arrivals down 3 per cent
  • Hong Kong – Arrivals down 2 per cent
  • Germany – Visitor arrivals down 9 per cent

Stats Source: The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Overseas Arrivals and Departures, November 2002.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.