A low Australian dollar has delivered an influx of short-term visitors to Australia according to the recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data.
With short-term visitor stays now at a record high, this is a significant result for Australia as tourism looks set to be one of the next sectors to shine.
As the mining boom continues to slow and the housing construction boom looks close to its peak, tourism could well be the next sector to pick-up the slack with short-term arrivals to Australia now at record highs.
Over the past year short-term arrivals were recorded at 7,685,300 having increased by 8.6% over the year which now represents the largest annual increase since November 2014.
We’ve basically seen short-term arrivals double since March 1996.
Furthermore, annual short-term arrivals increased by 1 million since June 2014.
Between June 2014 and April 2016 the Australian dollar has shifted from buying 94.2 US cents to 76.6 US cents which, highlights just how the a lower exchange rate is assisting the tourism sector.
Looking at the top 6 countries for short-term arrivals to Australia shows that arrivals from New Zealand are starting to trend lower while UK arrivals are fairly flat.
Short-term arrivals growth is largely coming from China while Singapore, Japan and America are recording moderate increases.
The countries to record the greatest growth in arrivals to Australia over the year they were: China (23.7%), Philippines (20.7%), Poland (19.0%), Vietnam (17.4%) and Taiwan (17.1%).
Over the past 12 months, 49.1% of short-term arrivals to Australia were for holidays.
This represents the highest proportion of shortterm arrivals for holidays since June 2008, and indicates a rising prevalence of holiday-makers coming to Australia.
The economic narrative around the mining boom was consistently that China was so important to the Australian economy because they were purchasing our resources.
If we take a look at short-term arrivals to Australia, China is currently equally important.
In fact, annual Chinese short-term arrivals to Australia increased by 23.7% over the past year and have doubled since March 2012.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics data show that holidays are the major reason for a short-term trip to Australia.
Over recent years there has been a large surge in holiday arrivals to the country, culminating in 3,793,000 holiday arrivals over the past year.
This represents an annual increase in holiday arrivals of 17.4% which is the largest annual growth in holiday arrivals since March 2005.
Looking at length of stay in Australia, the greatest proportion of short-term arrivals are for less than a week; travellers are more likely to stay in Australia for more than a month than they are to stay for between 2 weeks and a month.
The number of short-term arrivals staying in the country for less than a week over the past 12 months increased by 10.3% compared to an 11.9% increase in arrivals for 1 to 2 weeks, a 7.7% increase in arrivals for 2 weeks to a month and a 5.6% increase in arrivals for longer than a month.
The rise in short-term arrivals to Australia is a very encouraging development and the longer-term benefits should not be overlooked.
Potentially this may encourage some travellers to return for longer holidays in the future or even look to permanently migrate.
Clearly, China is the key source of the growth in short-term arrivals.
We need to embrace this opportunity and look to understand the want and needs of these travellers’ so the influx continues.
Recent data from Tourism Research Australia showed that on average, Chinese tourists spent $8,734 during their stay which was much higher than the second highest average expenditure of $7,163 by Italian visitors.