2 quick, stunning stats on Australia's tourism boom

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After all the dull data at the start of the year that culminated in economic growth slowing to a crawl in the first quarter of the year, some of more high-frequency indicators on Australia’s economic activity have been holding up OK.

Tourism – as you’d hope would happen with a lower Australian dollar – is booming. Check out this chart:

The explosion in Chinese visitors since 2010 is immediately apparent. But two key stats from this:

  • The number of visitors from China to Australia over the year to April tipped over 1.5 million; and
  • Australia has seen a surge in visitors from the United States to a record 742,200, a healthy jump of 103,300 over the previous year.

With activity in the tourism sector being essential to help the continuing transition in the economy, these are useful numbers of visitors from the world’s two largest economies.

One issue does stand out: retail sales growth — and the retail industry — has been weak through the year as households have been trimming their spending, so it does invite questions what it might have looked like if it wasn’t for the tourists.

There’s more on the tourism numbers here.

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