Australia’s tourism industry is booming, with the rate of international visitors becoming more than double than the rate of Australian residents going overseas.
John O’Sullivan, the Managing Director of Tourism Australia, the appeal of Australia to international visitors had arguably been the strongest in history. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the increase in short-term overseas visitors and departures in August was 10% and 4.7%, respectively. Mr O’Sullivan said that their inbound visitors had grown extensively over 12 months, which are now just a few thousand arrivals shy of eight million.
According to Mr O’Sullivan, Tourism Australia’s focus on improving food, wine, aquatic, and coastal experiences for its visitors has dramatically increased the number of international visitors.
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A total of 632,600 visitors arrived at Australia including a substantial number from New Zealand and China. More and more Japanese visitors have been visiting the country and their growing numbers indicate that they are definitely enjoying their experiences. In fact, Japanese arrivals have increases 22.8%, outnumbering the visitor numbers from the US and the UK.
New South Wales (NSW) has remained the hottest destination for international visitors followed by Queensland and Victoria. On the other hand, although the Northern Territory and South Australia experienced a bit slump, the ACT region experienced 19.5% increase in overseas arrivals.
However, the tourism officials think that the recent departure tax hike can affect the number of growing international tourists. Margy Osmond, the CEO of Tourism and Transport Forum, said that the Federal Government had no need to increase that tax given the swelling figures of overseas tourists.
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Going to be implemented from July next year, the Passenger Movement Charge was increased from $55 to $60 after an unchanged rate for four years. Ms Osmond thought that the hike was unjustified referring to more than $1 billion that the PMC raised in a year. She criticised the government for treating the tourism industry as a ‘cash cow’.
Ms Osmond urged the government to retract their decision on the tax hike and work closely with the tourist industry instead so that more and more international visitors feel interested visiting Australia.