Tourism Australia Quarterly Update – March 2014

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) there were 6.5 million short term visitor arrivals to Australia during the 2013 calendar year, a rise of 5.5 per cent compared to 2012.

The Leisure segment (Holiday and Visiting Friends and Relatives) was the main contributor to the increase, with Holiday arrivals growing five per cent and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) up nine per cent for the year. There were record visitor arrivals from the United States of America (USA), which grew 6.2 per cent to reach 508,700 visitors for the year.

• The latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) results show that international expenditure for the 12 months ending September 2013 reached a record of A$28.4 billion, an increase of 5 per cent.

Impact of China’s new Tourism Law

China’s new Tourism Law came into effect on 1 October 2013, which contains a number of provisions designed to protect consumers, including addressing practices such as coercive shopping measures, low price and low quality tours. A large increase in Chinese visitor numbers in September helped to offset the decline in visitors during October and November. Despite the short term impact, the new tourism law has the potential to deliver benefits to the Australian tourism industry in the medium and long term resulting in improvements in experience quality for Chinese travellers and higher yields per visitor.

A mixed year for business events

During the last quarter of 2013, international arrivals to attend a convention or conference increased seven per cent. This followed a downturn seen in earlier quarters, which contributed to international business events numbers declining by seven per cent for the year compared to 2012. International business events typically involve long lead times and the softening in arrivals figures can be attributed to decisions made during the global financial crisis when business confidence was subdued. The competitive nature of the global business events industry offering a large range of choice for customers also impacted results. However, there are encouraging signs with increased business being reported out of key markets, particularly from the UK, USA and China. Tourism Australia’s recent business events consumer research results show that Australia is perceived as a quality business events destination. When compared to key competitors, Australia rated second highest for consideration as a business events destination in the next four years by those surveyed, and further, Australia rated second by respondents who were ‘actively planning’ a business event in the next two years.

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