While the broader Australian economy is doing it pretty tough, growing at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis in the first three months of the year, it’s not all doom and gloom at present.
Take Australia’s tourism sector as a prime example as to why one should not get too downbeat on the outlook for the economy.
It’s absolutely booming.
According to data released by the ABS earlier today, a record 746,700 short-term visitor arrivals were reported in April in seasonally adjusted terms, surpassing the previous record high of 716,000 set only two months earlier.
Compared to April 2016, just one year ago, that represented a massive increase of 68,400, or 10.1%, continuing the double-digit annual growth rates of the past two years.
Over the past year, the ABS said that short-term arrivals swelled by 10.2% to 8.4699 million, the highest level on record.
Put another way, 786,600 more international visitors arrived over the past year compared to 12 months ago – a more than useful outcome for not only Australia’s tourism and hospitality sectors, but also the broader economy.
The chart below is surely one of the most bullish in relation to the Australian economy right now.
Looking into the detail as to where the growth in arrivals is coming from, it’s clear that most of it is from Asia, particularly China.
Including arrivals from Hong Kong, 1.503 million Chinese citizens made a short-term trip to Australia over the past 12 months, up 154,600 on the levels reported in the year to April 2016.
Of other major Asian nations, arrivals from Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Singapore grew by 53,200, 44,400, 43,700, 37,000, 29,700 and 29,600 respectively over the same period.
So nearly half of the total increase in short-term arrivals over the past year came from just those nations.
Outside of the Asian region, arrivals from the United States also impressed, jumping by 103,300 to 742,200.
Arrivals from New Zealand — still the single-largest source of international visitors to Australia — grew by 40,500 to 1.3552 million while those from the UK, perhaps weighed down by the plunging British pound, grew by a smaller 29,800 to 724,600.
It’s an amazing chart, and one that clearly shows the growing influence of Asia on the Australian economy.
And should the current trend be maintained, it bodes well for not only Australia’s tourism sector, but other industries such as education, agriculture and construction.
It’s just another reason to not get too downbeat on the prospects for the Australian economy given its growing links to Asia.