More people are expected to visit Australia in the next few years for a holiday while those visiting family and friends are also expected to increase, but fewer from UK due to Brexit.
The number of holidaymakers is expected to increase the most from Asian countries, led by China while traditional tourism source markets of the UK and New Zealand are also likely to increase.
According to Janice Wykes, assistant general manager of Tourism Research Australia, more flight choice, a lower Australian dollar, lower fuel prices and an improved economic outlook in other countries are set to help boost the numbers arriving.
The overseas tourism market increased strongly last year, up 9.3% in 2015/2016 and is forecast to increase by an average of 5.6% over the 10 years to 2024/2025.
Asian markets are expected to continue driving growth in the next few years led by China with growth of 18.5% forecast for 2016/2017 and 13.3% in 2017/2018, followed by India up 9.4% and 9.7% respectively.
‘Despite a slowing of the transitioning Chinese economy, the strong visitor growth coming out of China is expected to see China become our largest inbound source market earlier than previously forecast, overtaking New Zealand in 2017/2018,’ said Wykes.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea are also expected to experience solid growth, as are traditional markets such as New Zealand and the United States. New Zealand is expected to provide growth of 3.5% for 2016/2017 and 3.2% in 2017/2018.
But the number of people travelling to Australia from the UK is expected to fall due to the decision to leave the European Union and the resulting economic uncertainty which could last throughout the coming Brexit negotiations.
According to the forecast numbers, travelers from the UK are only expected to rise by 2.2% in 2016/2017 but stronger growth of 6.8% is forecast for 2017/2018. However, much of this could be driven by attendance at major sporting events.
‘The rising middle class in the Asia Pacific, increasing connectivity and an aging demographic will see people travelling, for longer and spending more. This makes for a positive outlook for Australia’s tourism industry, which augers well for the thousands of tourism businesses across Australia, leading to increasing employment levels,’ Wykes added.
In terms of visitor numbers, China is expected to contribute 43% of total growth in the next decade and 60% in terms of expenditure.
Overall, Australia’s top five inbound markets of New Zealand, China, the UK, the US and Singapore, are expected to provide 67% of the additional 5.2 million arrivals over the 10 years to 2024/2025.
Holiday travel is forecast to increase by 8.4% in 2016/2017 and 6.7% in 2017/2018, while those visiting family and friends is also expected to experience solid growth, up 5.8% and 5.9% respectively. More modest growth is forecast for business travel with growth of 3.3% and 3% after an expected decrease of 4.8% in 2015/2016.