The breathtaking growth of Chinese visitor arrivals to Australia, in one chart

International short-term visitor arrivals to Australia hit the highest level on record in April, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Friday.

678,400 international guests arrived during the month, after seasonal adjustments, 1.2% above the previous record set just one month earlier in March.

It took total short-term visitor arrivals over the past 12 months to 7.6853 million, also the highest level on record, an 8.6% increase on 12 months ago.

The chart below shows the enormous growth in short-term visitor arrivals over the past 25 years.

Helping to explain the growth seen in the chart above, arrivals from China, including Hong Kong, came in at 119,800, up 20% on the same month a year earlier.

That’s 20% in just one year.

New Zealand, with just 110,300 arrivals during the month, is now a distant second place.

Over the past year there were 1.35 million arrivals from China and Hong Kong, topping New Zealand yet again for top spot with 1.3134 million.

Truly amazing.

The acceleration in Chinese visitor arrivals corresponded with news earlier this week which revealed the value of Australia’s services exports rose by 18.9% to $6.342 billion in April, the highest monthly figure on record.

The value of tourism exports grew at an even faster clip, jumping by 21.7% from 12 months earlier, largely explaining the growth in total services exports.

And it’s clear where the majority of that growth is coming from.

As Craig James, Commsec’s chief economist, noted following the release the April trade report, “Chinese tourists have doubled in the past five years.”

He suggests that the tourist boom from China “has only really just started”.

On the evidence seen over recent years, it’s a view that few will dispute.

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