There were more travellers coming to Australia than were leaving in May, ABS tourism data released today shows.
Arrivals rose by 1.7 per cent in May while departures fell by 4.5 per cent. But seasonally adjusted the tourism deficit (departures minus arrivals) narrowed from 227,700 to 192,300 in May.
The numbers, which are released monthly, indicate how healthy Australia’s tourism sector is. And in terms of annual trend, tourist inflows are the strongest they’ve been in 14 years, mostly because of the pick-up in economies around the world coupled with a slightly lower Aussie dollar, CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said.
Chinese tourists are driving a good portion of the growth, hitting a record high of 761,600 in the 12 months to May, up 11.9 per cent year-on-year. In under four years the number of Chinese tourists has doubled.
Sebastian predicts China will overtake New Zealand as Australia’s primary source of tourists in another four years. The chart below shows how quickly the number of Chinese tourists coming to Australia has grown.
In May 66,700 Chinese tourists passed through Australian immigration.
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