Chinese outnumber New Zealand tourists as top visitors to Australia -

Chinese tourists to Australia outnumbered visitors from New Zealand for the first time ever in September this year and is now set to be worth Aus$13 billion to the economy within five years.

Australia is a major attraction for tourists, particularly Chinese visitors according to latest data

Australia is a major attraction for tourists, particularly Chinese visitors according to latest data. Image by Mertie / CC BY 2.0

Describing the announcement as a 'red letter day' for Australian tourism, the chief economist at CommSec, Craig James, said new data showed that Chinese and Hong Kong travellers to the country outstripped those from New Zealand by over 3000 – 113,500 for the month as against 110,000 for their nearest neighbours.

Mr James told The Australian newspaper that tourist numbers from the Far East country was increasing at 20% per year. The new figures had come at a time when Australia is experiencing a tourism boom, due to the weak Australian dollar – which has plummeted by 25% against the US dollar. The attraction of visiting down under is now at its highest level since the Olympic Games were held in Sydney 15 years ago.

Over the next year, recovery in such industries as tourism, healthcare and education is expected to support growth, helping offset falling mining investment and some slowing in housing construction as the economy searches for new drivers following a decade of being fuelled by mining. The rebalancing has been slow, restraining overall GDP growth.

On an annual basis New Zealand visitors still lead the way but this will change before too long.

A record 974,100 tourists came to Australia from China during the past year, a 22% jump on the previous year’s figures. Including Hong Kong in the equation saw the figure rise to a total of 1.2 million.

New Zealand had 1,294,000 travellers to their bigger neighbour – a rise 5.1%.

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