CANBERRA — Australia’s tourism sector has recorded the largest jump in annual growth in more than a decade, fueled by a boom in Chinese visitors.
The Tourism Research Australia’s (TRA) International Visitor Survey, released on Dec 2, found Australia’s tourism revenue hit $25.5 billion over 12 months to September, up $3 billion from the previous year.
The 2015 figure represents a 13 percent rise in international and domestic tourism spending, the highest annual jump since 2001.
China led the growth with a massive 22 percent gain in total visitors. Chinese tourists made up 896,000 of the 6.7 million internationals who made the journey Down Under this year.
Spending-wise, China contributed $5.65 billion to Australia’s economy. That figure represents a 43 percent rise in the space of one year -- a three-fold better performance than the aforementioned 13 percent average increase.
The boost in visitor numbers and overall spending has been attributed to the steep decline of the Australian dollar, which is trading almost 15 percent lower against the US dollar compared to 12 months ago.
The plummeting dollar has made Australia an attractive destination to foreigners looking to capitalize on the exchange rate.
Last month, TRA revealed China would overtake New Zealand as Australia’s biggest tourism market in the next five years, with 30 percent of Australia’s tourism growth over the next decade linked to China’s burgeoning curiosity with the region.