Australia is more popular than ever with people from New Zealand with the latest figures showing that they made a record 1.3 million visits to Australia in the 2014/2015 financial year.
‘Australia continues to see the most international visitors coming from New Zealand. This is nothing new however, as New Zealand has provided the most visitors to Australia over the past 10 years,’ said Amy Donnelly from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Short term arrivals from China have more than tripled over the last 10 years to make it the second most common country for international visitors. But Japan has dropped from third place to seventh after arrivals from there halved.
The United Kingdom was the third most common country for visitors even though there were 37,300 fewer arrivals from the UK compared with 10 years ago.
The most frequently cited reason for journey to Australia was for a holiday, making up nearly half of all journeys, and the average amount of time people spent in Australia was 11 days.
New Zealand was also the top destination for Australians travelling overseas. Australians made 1.2 million short term trips across the Tasman to New Zealand in the last financial year, over 400,000 more than 10 years ago.
Indonesia followed as the second most popular destination for Australians, tripling as a short term destination for Australians since 2004/2005, the data also shows.
Meanwhile, Tourism Australia has said that international visitors to Australia aged 15 years and over spent a record breaking $32.5 billion for the 12 months ending March 2015, up 10% thanks to a rise of 8% in arrivals.
Leisure travel was the highest earning sector for visitor spend, up 9%, and China was the highest value inbound market up 25% to $6.4 billion.
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said the double digit increase in international spending was impressive, boosted by strong distribution and aviation partnerships and, most recently, by the Chinese New Year and the staging of two of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.
‘The 32% increase this quarter in Chinese spending is unprecedented and testament, I think, to our strategy of moving away from group tour business towards the much more lucrative free and independent travel segment,’ he explained.
O’Sullivan said that the spending figures also demonstrated the positive impact that large scale events had on the visitor economy, in a period which saw Australia host the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and 2015 Cricket World Cup.