Economic recovery in the United Kingdom and the United States has helped drive a surge in overseas travellers to Australia.
A Deloitte Access Economics report says international visitors rose by 8.2 per cent in the 12 months to May, the fastest rate of growth in nearly a decade.
Tourists from Asia continue to be the biggest driver but, defying previous trends, a significant increase in tourists from the UK and the US had contributed to the strong growth in international arrivals, Deloitte spokesman Lachlan Smirl says.
“Emerging Asian markets continue to drive growth in visitor numbers and spending in Australia. This has been the case for some time,” he said.
“But what has changed is two of Australia’s oldest tourism markets, the US and the UK, which have been subdued for some time since the financial crisis, have seen strong growth in the past 12 months.
“There’s been almost double digit growth for both of them which is a very positive turnaround and is one factor that has contributed to an overall upgrade in international arrivals.”
Arrivals from the UK grew 12 per cent for the year after falling 20 per cent over the past six years. US arrivals grew 9.1 per cent, the fastest pace since 2010.
Chinese arrivals grew 11.9 per cent while increased flights from low-cost carriers such as Air Asia X and Jetstar, increased holidaymakers from Malaysia (20.4 per cent) and Singapore (16 per cent).
Asia’s rapidly expanding middle class is the biggest driver and will account for 63 per cent of the total growth in international visitors over the next three years, Mr Smirl added.
He said the growth in Chinese travellers to Australia may surpass Japan’s 1997 heights by this time in 2015.
Other facts from Deloitte’s report
* International tourists spend 35 per cent of their nights outside of the capitals
* Domestic trips growing at an average 2.0 per cent a year over the next three years
* China and India arrivals expected to rise 8.8 per cent a year in the next three years
* Malaysia arrivals expected to rise 7.6 per cent
* Singapore arrivals expected to rise 7.0 per cent
* Thailand arrivals expected to rise 7.2 per cent