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Tourism industry facing continued challenge.

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Latest visitor arrival figures released today show Australian tourism continues to suffer due to the effects of global economic factors and the war on terrorism, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Joe Hockey, said.

"The industry continues to face a major challenge with significant declines from our two largest tourism markets," the Minister said.

"While the arrivals numbers are sobering, the figures also show some pockets of hope for our industry. Australian tourism is facing a big, but not an insurmountable, challenge."

The Overseas Arrivals and Departure data for November 2001, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, show a 20.5 per cent drop in international visitor arrivals. However, results from certain countries are starting to show signs of recovery.

"I am committed to working with the industry to claw back Australia's share of the global tourism market. I am confident about the industry’s resilience, and that tourism will continue to be one of Australia's most important export industries."

Figures show the US market has dropped 19.9 per cent compared with the same time last year. This is a positive sign when compared with the US arrivals for September and October, which were down 55.0 per cent and 25.3 per cent respectively.

Europe, including the UK, is remaining relatively resilient compared with other markets with a 9.1 per cent decrease over November 2000. This can partly be attributed to Germany which had only a 0.7 per cent decrease.

The China market has continued to show growth with a 17.9 per cent increase, while Korea also remained resilient with a 4.8 per cent increase for the month.

The Government, through the Australian Tourist Commission, has new promotional initiatives in response to declines with campaigns under way in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and China.

Two new campaigns have also started in Japan targeting the independent traveller market. The response to the campaigns has been encouraging indicating the Asian tourism markets are beginning to recover.

20 December 2001

Media contact: Matthew Abbott: 0408974349.