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Strong growth in traditional markets softens falls from Asia.

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Media Release


The Hon Andrew Thomson MP

Minister for Sport and Tourism

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Sydney 2000 Games


18 June 1998




Strong growth in visitor arrivals from Au stralia’s traditional tourism markets is helping to offset the continued decline in tourism from some of our Asian markets.


Commenting on preliminary ABS overseas arrivals figures released today, Federal Tourism Minister Andrew Thomson said declines in visitor numbers from South-East and North-East Asia had been largely offset by impressive growth in traditional markets.


“Increases from North America (up 18.1 per cent), New Zealand (up 16.1 per cent) and the United Kingdom (up 13 per cent) vindicate the decision to re-focus much of the Australian Tourist Commission’s efforts on those markets,” Mr Thomson said.


“It also vindicates the decisions to maintain a presence in our single largest source market Japan which also grew by 2.2 per cent, and to look at emerging markets like China which was up by 10.2 per cent.


“While it is far too early to claim that the crisis is over, the signs are encouraging that the diversity of our tourism markets is helping us to weather the economic developments in the region.”


Mr Thomson said overall visitor numbers fell by just 1.8 per cent in May, indicating shifts in ATC tactical promotional campaigns were beginning to bite.


“The Howard Government has recognised the need to respond emphatically to events in Asia and provided a $50m boost to the ATC in the recent Federal Budget,” Mr Thomson said.


“Our appropriation to the ATC of $359m over four years is the largest on record and indicates the importance we place on tourism as a means of providing Australians with real jobs.


“This week’s release of the Government’s National Tourism Action Plan was another plank of that response.


Media information: Richard Shields (0418) 418 877