The “Oprah and Ellen effect”, combined with the improving US dollar is luring more international tourists back to Australian shores, with the number of foreign tourists entering the country growing at the same rate as the number of Aussies heading overseas for their holidays, according to numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
For the first time in nearly a decade, international arrivals grew by 4.9 per cent to the 12 months to February 28, the same growth rate as Australians travelling overseas.
The Lunar New Year drove a record number of Chinese arrivals in February, according to Tourism & Transport Forum acting chief executive Trent Zimmerman. More than 110,000 Chinese visitors landed in Australia during February, according to the ABS figures.
“Chinese visitors accounted for almost one in five of all international visitors to Australia in February, underscoring the importance of Chinese New Year to our tourism industry and the value of investing in events which attract those visitors,” Zimmerman says.
In addition to China, the number of visitors from traditional incoming tourism markets, such as the US and Japan are also increasing. Tourist numbers from the US were up almost 6 per cent and Japanese visitors increased 4.2 per cent for the year. This, according to Zimmerman, is largely thanks to long-term investments in marketing and promotional campaigns, such as LA’s G’day USA event and US talkshow queen Oprah’s subsidised trip with her fans to Australia in 2010.