Tourism is confirmed as the unsung hero of the Australian economy with record international visitor numbers in year to June 2017, Australian Chamber – Tourism said today.
The June publication of the Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures shows that in trend terms, 733,100 international visitors came to Australia in June 2017, an increase of 6.3% from June the previous year. This release also rounds out the 2016-17 financial year, showing visitor numbers increased from 8.45 million in 2015-16 to 8.55 million in 2016-17.
John Hart, Executive Chair of Australian Chamber – Tourism said:
“These latest figures demonstrate that tourism is a rapidly growing sector, offering job opportunities in our cities, and importantly, our regions.
“These are the highest numbers on record, and we know from the last International Visitor Survey that in addition to more visitors arriving, they are staying longer and spending more.
“More Australians than ever are employed in tourism, and if the sector continues to grow many more will be.
“Tourism is well known for the jobs on offer to young people as a great entry into the workforce. This is certainly true, but the job opportunities generated by tourism are across all skills levels and are widely dispersed across Australia.
“Focusing on developing tourism sectors in regional areas will help address the youth unemployment crisis we are currently seeing there. Regions such as Townsville are hot spots for youth unemployment. We have an opportunity to leverage regional tourism to address this challenge.
“To increase the numbers of visitors to our regions, we need to make it easier for tourists to get to them, and easier for them and the businesses that serve them to connect to the world. Governments must increase infrastructure investment around both physical and digital connectivity in order for regional tourism to reach its potential.
“Increasing the capacity of a regional conference centre, a road leading to a local attraction or expanding a regional airport directly benefits local tourism operators and direct employment in the industry, and it has flow on effects to the rest of the regional economy.
“The tourism sector continues to go from strength to strength, employing directly and indirectly almost one million Australians and contributing $53 billion to our national GDP. But the benefit to Australia of tourism is much more than an economic story, it is about the richness it can create in communities and the improvement in cultural understanding.
“Today’s figures also demonstrate the value Australians see in tourism experiences and cultural exchange with 850,700 residents departing Australia for holiday purposes, up 3.1% from the June 2016 figures.”