CHARTS: The phenomenal growth in visitors to Australia

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Australia’s tourism sector is booming with more short-term visitors arrivals than even before arriving in October.

According to the ABS, arrivals grew by a further 0.3% to 713,300 in seasonally adjusted terms, leaving the increase on a year earlier at 12.7%.

In cumulative terms, that took total short-term arrivals over the past 12 months to 8.145 million, up 11.2%, or 819,800, from the levels in year to October 2015.

That massive growth was not just from China.

Despite the higher Australian dollar, something that makes holidaying there less cost competitive, growth is evident from many major markets.

This chart all but underlines that point. Some of the growth rates are phenomenal.

According to the ABS, short-term arrivals from China, South Korea and Japan grew by 20.5%, 28.4% and 21.8% respectively over the past year compared to 2015.

Over the same period, arrivals from the United States grew by 17.9%, Singapore 14.3% and Malaysia 14.5%.

New Zealand, still Australia’s largest source of arrivals if you don’t include Hong Kong’s figures with China, grew at far slower pace, inching up 2.9% from the year to October 2015.

In numeric terms, short-term arrivals from China swelled by 204,000 over the past year, outpacing increases of 106,000 and 72,000 from the United States and Japan.

As pointed out by Savanth Sebastian, senior economist at Commsec, this boom in visitor arrivals is not only positive for the nation’s tourism sector, but also the Australian economy as a whole.

“More tourists means more spending at retail and services outlets, cafes and restaurants and on transport services,” he says. “And these extra dollars are, in turn, spent elsewhere in the economy, providing important momentum to the economy.”

Another reason why you should not be too downbeat about Australia’s GDP decline registered in the September quarter.

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