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Australian tourism, tourism Australia, tourism trends,

Australian travel industry breaks records in 2017

Posted on March 28th, 2018 in Blog, News

Australia continued to grow in prominence as an international travel hotspot in 2017, with record numbers of inbound and outbound travellers and billions of extra dollars in revenue.

With substantial growth in many source markets, these trends are expected to continue through 2018 to make Australia’s high season busier and more lucrative than ever.


Who’s visiting Australia?

The latest figures from Tourism Australia, published at the end of 2017, reveal that 8.72 million people visited Australia in the year ending October 2017. That’s an increase of 7.1 percent compared to the previous year, or 575,200 extra visitors. 2017 was also the first year to see more than 700,000 arrivals every month

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) Travel Trends Report 2017 gives a more detailed breakdown of visitors. The top 10 source countries were:

  1. China (1,347,400)
  2. New Zealand (1,347,300)
  3. USA (772,300)
  4. UK (717,100)
  5. Singapore (439,800)
  6. Japan (433,200)
  7. Malaysia (407,500)
  8. South Korea (294,100)
  9. India (292,400)
  10. Hong Kong (274,600)

The vast majority of people travel to Australia for a holiday or to visit friends and relatives. While some source markets are experiencing a boom, such as China, the greater availability of international flights to Australia (up 6 percent from 2016) is also making the country more accessible generally.


How much are they spending?

Last year also saw the highest international spend at $41.2 billion for the year ending September 2017, an increase of 6 percent from $38.8 billion in 2016.

According to Tourism Research Australia’s latest quarterly survey, the 10 biggest spenders were:

  1. China ($10.3 billion)
  2. USA ($3.7bn)
  3. UK ($3.5bn)
  4. New Zealand ($2.6bn)
  5. Japan ($1.8bn)
  6. Singapore ($1.5bn)
  7. South Korea ($1.5bn)
  8. Malaysia ($1.4bn)
  9. India ($1.4bn)
  10. Hong Kong ($1.4bn)

In the year that China narrowly overtook New Zealand as the biggest source market, Chinese spending eclipsed that of all other countries, accounting for more than a quarter of total international spend. The Chinese tourism boom is one of the key trends that will shape the travel industry conversation in 2018 and beyond.


Where do Aussies travel?

Finally, Australians are taking more trips too, with AFTA recording more than 10 million outbound movements for the first time and winter travel increasing by 5 percent.

The top 10 destinations favoured by Aussie travellers are:

  1. New Zealand (1,422,600)
  2. Indonesia (1,209,600
  3. USA (1,093,400)
  4. UK (627,400)
  5. Thailand (569,300)
  6. China (524,300)
  7. Singapore (400,900)
  8. Japan (389,500)
  9. Fiji (349,100)
  10. India (347,800)

No destinations in the top 10 saw negative growth in 2017, with most being positive and a few remaining stable from the previous year. Holidays were the primary reason for travel to all top 10 countries, with Indonesia (the home of Bali) having the highest percentage of recreational travel at 81.3 percent.

China was the fastest growing destination, up by 15.2 percent. It also had the highest proportion of business-related travel at 17.9 percent of trips.


Find out what’s happening in Australian travel

Get the latest insights on the challenges and opportunities in all sectors of the industry at The Travel Industry Exhibition. This year’s event is taking place at Dockside, Darling Harbour, Sydney from 21-22 August 2018.



Tourism Australia.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents.