Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/27/2012 -- The Australia tourism report examines the significant long-term potential being offered by the tourism industry, but we caution that the strong Australian dollar and general economic turmoil may place downward pressure on the sector. That said, the report also analyses the growth strategies being employed by the country to continue to attract arrivals, including marketing to regional source markets such as India and China.
Through to 2008, tourist arrivals to Australia had been steadily growing since 2004. In 2003, arrival numbers fell by 1% due to concern over the SARS pandemic. In 2004, 4.77mn tourists visited Australia and by 2008 that number had increased to 5.45mn. In 2009, however, tourist arrivals fell by 2.0% yearon- year (y-o-y) to 5.34mn. Before 2009, Australia's tourism growth was helped by the weakness of the Australian dollar, which increased the country's price competitiveness from major source destinations such as the UK and New Zealand. However, since the dollar has continued to strengthen, it has negatively affected the industry's price competitiveness. Tourism was also affected by the global recession in 2009 as discretionary spending was reined in and businesses cut costs, including on international conferences. About a quarter of all arrivals to Australia are business travellers, with 1.58mn forecast to arrive in 2012 for business purposes and 3.35mn travelling for leisure. For 2010 and 2011, BMI calculates tourist arrivals rebounded to 5.57mn and 5.74mn respectively. We forecast tourist arrivals to reach 5.89mn in 2012 and to rise to 6.74mn by 2016.
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The majority of tourists come to Australia from the Asia Pacific region, followed by Europe and North America. Inbound tourism from Asia Pacific has increased strongly since 2001, when just over 3mn people visited Australia, and is forecast to reach over 4.15mn in 2012. Arrivals from the region are forecast to continue growing to 4.92mn by 2016. Out of the top-10 source markets for the Australian tourism industry, seven are in the Asia Pacific region. Australia attracts more of its tourists from New Zealand than any other country, followed by the UK and Japan.
India is also becoming an important market for Australia. Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson said: 'India is very important to Australia as a tourism opportunity. It is the 10th largest economy and has the second largest population in the world. India is going to go through a significant period of growth, which is going to create opportunities for people to rationally think about travel.' The ministry launched tourism campaigns in India with Qantas and Singapore Airlines in Q210 and it has a full-time office in Mumbai. According to Australia Tourism, there was AUD826mn in total expenditure from the Indian market in 2010. Australia Tourism estimates that India will grow to account for AUD1.5bn of total expenditure by 2020.
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