Inbound tourism remains strong but signs of weakening growth must be heeded

 Wednesday, June 19, 2019 


Australia has enjoyed a magnificent ride on the back of a growing export tourism industry, now worth more than $44bn annually, but the latest industry figures show signs of softening across a number of key indicators.

The March 2019 International Visitor Survey (IVS), released today, shows Australia’s export tourism industry continues to climb, although at a much slower rate than the 17% growth in spend seen in the same quarter of 2016.

“Today’s IVS shows a slower growth rate than we have seen across the inbound tourism industry over the past 5 years,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said.

“While there is a natural maturing in some of our strongest growth markets, like China which is now our largest visitor market, it would be wrong to think we have reached our peak.


“What these figures show is that we need to continue to put forward a strong proposition in these markets and at the same time continue to invest in growing our new and emerging markets.

“With the growth in first time visitors now at its lowest point since 2010, we need to focus our marketing campaigns towards continuing to reap more success from the markets where we have established a strong foothold.

“Concerningly we have seen no funding boost to Tourism Australia for many years, leaving the organisation scrambling to fund international advertising campaigns from a decreasing budget in real terms.

“Only yesterday, the NSW Government also took a $35m axe to the funding base of its tourism marketing budget, a move which will undoubtedly have an impact on Australia’s overall visibility in key markets.

“In a rapidly changing global tourism marketplace, where local economic, political, social and environmental factors can readily affect the choices travellers make, Australia’s marketing strategy must be nimble, well equipped, fast to market and importantly well funded, otherwise we fear this trend towards a softening of our inbound numbers will become the norm.”


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