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Tourists spending more, staying longer

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Media Release Ja.ckl€ I ly Minister for Sport and Tourism

Wednesday, 28 April 1999 99 098


While regional economic difficulties had an effect on the number of international visitors to Australia last year, those who did come stayed longer and spent more, according to new research released in Cairns today by Federal Minister for Sport and Tourism, Jackie Kelly.

The September Quarter 1998 International Visitor Survey (IVS), produced by the Bureau of Tourism Research, reported a 3 per cent jump in the amount of money overseas travellers spent in Australia in the year ended 30 September 1998 compared with the previous year ~ up from just over $7.6 billion to more than $7.8 billion.

The number of nights overseas tourists stayed also rose by 4 per cent, despite a 3 per cent drop in the total number of international visitors to Australia during the period.

“The true measure of the health of the tourism industry is not simply defined by the number of people who come here,” Minister Kelly said. “The ‘yield’ ~ or how much those visitors are worth to the industry and the economy generally ~ provides a much better picture of how well we are travelling.

“The September quarter IVS results are excellent, particularly given the difficult times tourism was facing, and highlights just how strong, flexible and resilient this dynamic young industry is.” v

The IVS found that the decline in some Asian markets, particularly Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, was largely offset by growth in our more traditional markets.

Despite the number of visitors from Japan falling by 5 per cent to the year ending September 1998, it remained our largest source of international visitors. It was followed by New Zealand which recorded a 3 per cent increase over the previous year’s figures, the United Kingdom (up 16 per cent) and the United States (up 9 per cent).

Minister Kelly said the results vindicated the Federal Government’s decision to boost funding to the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) so it could redirect its marketing strategies in light of changing regional circumstances.

“This additional $50 million enabled us to maintain a strong presence in Asia while undertaking a concerted marketing push in regions such as Europe and North America ~ a move which has obviously paid off”

She said the tourism industry’s future was extremely bright, with Australia’s Approved Tourist Destination Status from China now in effect likely to further increase industry momentum.

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6277 7080 Fax: (02) 6273 4571