Australia defies downward global trend
According to an article in travel Today, Australia has avoided the predicted 4.1% dip in visitor arrivals in 2009, with year-end figures showing the country attracted just 1,700 fewer international visitors than in 2008.
Arrivals reached 5.584 million in 2009 according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Departures jumped by half a million on 2008, reaching almost 6.3 million. The Tourism Transport Forum warned the result also highlighted significant challenges.
"The phenomenal growth in the number of Australians travelling overseas means we are now a significant net importer of tourism, and that's having a negative impact on our terms of trade," TTF executive director Brett Gale said.
The TTF said local businesses had been forced to “have a haircut” in order to continue attracting visitors from overseas, claiming profitability was down for the later part of 2009. The biggest jump in visitors came from the USA, which recorded a 21.6% increase in the 12 months to December, on the back of cheap air deals.
Malaysia also recorded 12.9% increase, while arrivals from Japan fell 5.4%. A TTF spokesperson said more investment was needed in encouraging not only overseas visitors, but also more domestic travel, which was competing against cheap overseas destinations.