TRA has reported that tourism now directly contributes $47.5 billion to Australia's GDP, employs 580,800 of Australians and accounts for 9.6% of Australia's exports. Figures released last week showed more than eight million international visitors for the first time ever visited Australia - an increase of 11% over the previous year. This milestone was achieved just 18 months after visitor numbers exceeded seven million annually. This is substantially faster than the ascent from six to seven million visitors, which took place almost two and a half years ago. Much of the changing demographic of international visitors to Australia can be attributed to emerging countries in Asia, such as China; in contrast to previous decades where the majority of tourist arrivals came from the USA, the UK, NZ, Japan, Canada and Europe.