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Australian tourism's six million surge

Six million tourists visited Australia for the first time in the past year, marking an important milestone in the revival of the Australian tourism market.
09 October 2012
With much of the world in an economic slump, Australia's continued resistance resulted in a strong Australian Dollar which weakened its appeal to international travellers and ETA visa numbers inevitably dropped.

However, as much of the world continues its road to economic recovery, many tourists are heading abroad once more, and once more, Australia is proving to be one of the most popular destinations.

Asian tourists led the way to Australia's landmark total with a 6.5% increase in Asian arrivals contributing heavily to a 1.2% increase overall. Chinese tourists accounted for a 15% increase while Taiwan recorded a similarly impressive 14%.

Australia's traditional markets have been the UK, Ireland, Japan and the US, each of which also recorded increases, as much as 7% from Japan.

The latest report wasn't all good news however, with tourists from Australia's closest cousin New Zealand falling more than 3%; the drop has been blamed on the introduction of a passenger movement charge between the two countries.

"Charging our biggest inbound market the highest short-haul departure tax of any developed country in the world does not help to improve our competitiveness or encourage greater tourist expenditure in the visitor economy," said John Lee, chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum.

But Mr Lee said the numbers overall were positive and looked forward to further improvement.

If you have always wanted to visit Australia, now could be the time to do so. You'll need an Australian Travel Visa. The most popular of these is the ETA Visa, because it can be easily and quickly applied for online.