(Australian Associated Press)
The falling Australian dollar is boosting the number of foreign visitors, while fewer locals are jetting off on overseas holidays.
Short-term visitor arrivals rose 1.9 per cent in August, with 619,300 people coming into the country, while short-term resident departures dipped 0.7 per cent, as 784,400 left, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.
As Australia’s third largest export, and its largest service export, tourism has become vital to the nation’s potential growth, Commonwealth Bank of Australia economist Diana Mousina said.
“Queensland will be particularly positively impacted by stronger inbound tourism,” she said.
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said a falling Aussie dollar makes Australia a more desirable holiday destination for both foreigners and locals.
“The cheaper currency should over time make it more attractive to travel within Australia rather than overseas – although it will take some time yet to make a significant dent in the tourism deficit,” he said.
The tourism data also showed the number of inbound tourists from China and Hong Kong continue to soar to record levels of close to 1.2 million a year, Mr Sebastian said.
“Tourist numbers from the region have effectively trebled over the past decade and current growth is over 16 per cent per annum,” he said.
“At the current rate, China and Hong Kong will pass New Zealand as our primary source of tourists in less than a year.”