Japanese visitors to Australia were up almost 50% and Chinese visitors up almost a third in April compared to the same month in 2015.

Overall, Australia welcomed 610,800 international visitor arrivals during April, an increase of 10.6%, the fourth consecutive month of double digit growth in international visitor arrivals this year.

Alongside those visiting Australia are spending even more, the latest report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


For the year ending April 2016, total international arrivals reached 7.7 million, up 9.1%, an extra 644,000 visitors compared to the previous 12 months.

"April was another big month in what's so far been a great year with strong growth for most of the markets we target across Asia including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and India," said Tourism Australia managing director John O'Sullivan.

He pointed out that Japan was a stand-out, up 47% in April off the back of increased aviation capacity and associated marketing activities. Chinese visitor arrivals were also up 33% for the month and there was also a rise in people from the United States, up 18.1%.

The strong arrivals figures are also reflected in record visitor spending, up 17% to $38 billion for the 12 months to the end of March this year, according to the latest International Visitor Survey from Tourism Research Australia.

The survey also shows that in the year to March 2016 New Zealand and China accounted for 31% of total visitors to Australia at 1.2 and one million, respectively. China also contributed 23% to total trip spend, while the top five markets of China, the UK, the United States, New Zealand and Japan contributed 54% to total trip spend. The top five markets all saw growth in spend and visitors for the year.

Apart from China, most Asian markets also saw strong growth, with spend increasing most notably for Singapore with a rise of 24%, Korea up 21%, India up 19% and Hong Kong up 18%. Aside from China, the most significant increase in visitors occurred from Korea with growth of 16%, Taiwan also up 16% and Hong Kong up 15%.

However, it is the traditional markets of the UK and the United States where visitor numbers increased 5% and 12% respectively that have the most positive impact on regional areas. These traditional markets have a high dispersal rate when compared to Asian markets. Some 54% of UK and 42% of US visitors dispersed to regional areas compared to 23% of those from Asia.

"What these annual numbers show is that for every international visitor we attract to Australia, our visitor economy is benefitting to the tune of around $5,000. With international spending now growing at more than twice the rate of visitor arrivals, we are really starting to see the economic benefits of pursuing a high yield tourism strategy," O'Sullivan added.

Tourism Australia is expanding its presence in Japan to cope with the demand from the country. It is currently looking for a country manager to lead a dedicated team of marketing, PR and distribution experts in Tokyo and continue to build Australia's strong position in the Japan market.