June was a historic month for Australia’s tourism sector.
For the first time ever, New Zealand was displaced as Australia’s top source of short-term visitor arrivals, replaced by Australia’s largest trading partner.
Here’s the historic crossover.
In trend terms, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that 111,700 Chinese citizens arrived in Australia during July, surpassing the 110,900 New Zealanders that arrived over the same period.
Over the year, New Zealand remained the top source for arrivals at 1.3527 million, higher than the 1.2691 million total from China.
However, much like the monthly number, it appears to be only a matter of time until China takes that mantle, too.
Over the past year, arrivals from China grew by 11.8%, or 134,400, from the levels of reported in the year to June 2016. Arrivals from New Zealand, with an increase of 35,200, or 2.7%, grew at a substantially slower pace.
The sharp increase in Chinese short-term arrivals becomes even more mind-boggling when looking from a longer-term perspective.
From the level reported in the 12 months to June 2007 — one decade ago — growth from China exploded by 275%.
Going back two decades, that figure becomes even larger with a mammoth increase of 2000% reported.