Tourism continues to be a driver of growth for the economy. Historically, international visitors have propelled the industry, but it is Australia’s desire to travel around Australia that sees the sector exhibit double-digit growth in value in 2018–19.
Domestic spend exceeded $100 billion for the first time. Australia’s standing in the global top ten for international expenditure – $64.2 billion on outbound trips – demonstrates appetite for travel and considerable capacity to increase domestic travel.
Internationally, Australia is marketed as an aspirational destination with a strong focus on high value travellers. This complements the sustainable intent of Australian tourism – achieving strong economic benefits while managing environmental and social impacts. However, as a long-haul destination for most international markets, the industry is exposed to changing travel trends and the risks of global economic and geopolitical uncertainties.
CURRENT CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE FOCUS
The recent bushfires in Australia are expected to have a significant impact on the Australian tourism industry, with fires across nine tourism regions. This will affect Australia’s international and domestic tourism, but in early 2020 it is too soon to measure the impacts.
The coronavirus creates ongoing risks to international tourism. China is Australia’s largest inbound visitor market with 1.4 million visitor arrivals in 2018–19. With travel restrictions now imposed, the breadth of the event is yet to be seen.
This report acknowledges the impact of both the fires and coronavirus, but in-depth analysis is not currently available. The March quarter International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey data will provide the first opportunity to measure the impacts of these events – available July 2020.