The explosive growth of Australian tourism in one chart

Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images

Australian short term visitor arrivals fell fractionally in January, falling 0.2% to 659,100 according to the ABS.

Despite the small monthly drop, the annual figure ballooned to 7,514,700, the largest 12-month total on record.

Compared to arrivals in the year to January 2015, that represents an annual increase of 8.64%, the fastest increase since May 2014.

The chart below shows the rolling annual total of short-term visitor arrivals by individual nation over recent decades.

As has been the case since the survey first began in 1991, New Zealand retained top spot with 1.3192 million visits in the 12 months to January, up 6.05% on the levels of a year earlier. It was the highest 12-month total on record.

Helping to explain the vast majority of the sharp increase in short term arrivals in recent years, along with the falling Australian dollar, short term arrivals from China ballooned by 26.9% from a year earlier to 1.0795 million, again the highest annual total on record.

Compared to annual arrival numbers from China just a decade ago, this represents an increase of 298%. At current pace it wont be long before China will replace New Zealand as the largest source of short term visitor arrivals to Australia.

Here’s the annual total in visitor arrivals by individual nation seen in the 12 months to January 2016.

  • 1. New Zealand 1,319,200
  • 2. China 1,079,500
  • 3. UK 689,100
  • 4. USA 614,600
  • 5. Singapore 398,100
  • 6. Japan 340,800
  • 7. Malaysia 339,800

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