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Australia's “Down Under” Tourism Comes Out On Top

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(Image: Stock.xchng)
(Image: Stock.xchng)


  • Domestic tourism contributed over $73 billion annually to Australian economy
  • Travel to Australia from China up 4.5% over last year
  • Potential to add $9 billion to Australia's tourism economy by 2020

According to a new report recently released by Tourism Research Australia (TRA), domestic tourism was responsible for contributing more than $73 billion annually to the national economy.

Further, results published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that tourism’s direct contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $34.6 billion in over 2010 – 2011. Despite the high Aussie dollar, natural disasters and global economic challenges, the numbers equate to an increase of about 2.7% in total tourism GDP over 2010 – 2011.

Additional data from TRA’s report revealed that through indirect contributions the industry invested another $38.7 billion into the economy, which represents an approximate increase of $1.9 billion from the previous financial year.

Australia’s tourism industry employs nearly 910,000 people both indirectly and directly – surpassing the nation’s robust mining, education and training, and retail trade industries.

In a statement to the press, Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson discussed tourism’s importance to Australia’s social and economic growth, saying: “The tourism industry is significant to the whole economy including sectors such as manufacturing, which benefits to the tune of $5.6 billion and almost 60,000 jobs. For every one dollar increase in tourism output, an additional 92 cents is generated in the rest of the economy.”

International Visitors Support Australia Tourism Growth With China Tipping the Scales

In the first two months of this year, over 1 million international travelers visited Australia, with Chinese tourists leading the pack at an increase of nearly 4.5% over the same time last year. Making up the 1 million mark, total international arrivals were up 2%.

According to Ferguson: "Hard work is under way to make the most of the tourism opportunity presented by China and other emerging Asian markets, such as India, which is up nine percent.” He added that with the growing demand from Asia there is the potential to add $9 billion to Australia's tourism economy by 2020.

As part of Australian government’s tourism 2020 strategy and its further commitment to the Chinese business events market, Tourism Australia has assigned two senior executives to develop operations in the Greater China region. The government’s overall goals are aimed at doubling the overnight expenditure generated by tourism to as much as $140 billion by the year 2020.

Australia’s Outbound Tourism Remains High

While travel into Australia is going strong, thanks to a strong Aussie dollar outbound tourism is also making headlines. Affordable international airfares resulted in a total of 132 million nights out of the country between July 2010 and July 2011.

Based on the same report from TRA, the most popular overseas destinations for Australians were Thailand, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Canada, the USA, and New Zealand. The report’s numbers also showed that the total number of Australians taking overseas holidays was up 9% as compared to 2010 figures.

Key Statistics - Tourism in Australia

  • Last financial year, the direct value of tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) was at nearly $35 billion based on figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • In 2010-11, nearly $39 billion in indirect contributions were invested by the industry into the economy as published in a report from Tourism Research Australia.
  • Contributing to the economy as a whole, approximately $5.6 billion as well as almost 60,000 jobs in manufacturing were made possible by the tourism industry. (Tourism Ministry).

By Laurie Juliano-Bachara for
Laurie Juliano-Bachara is a Chicago-based writer who covers the latest topics in professional services, entertainment and business news.

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