2015 marks highest-ever growth in international visitor expenditure: Tourism Australia

04 March, 2016 by
Aoife Boothroyd

According Tourism Australia, international visitors are spending more and staying longer on our shores with an 18 percent increase on expenditure reported for 2015.

In dollar terms, the increase takes expenditure to a record $36.6 billion – a rise of $5.5 billion in just one year – marking the largest increase on record and the highest percentage growth since the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

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“These numbers don’t really need much talking up – they really speak for themselves,” says Tourism Australia’s managing director, John O’Sullivan. “For us, the story is about yield, with international spending growing last year at more than twice the rate of our already strong international arrivals.

“This moves us another significant step closer towards achieving our Tourism 2020 targets. All our key markets made substantial contributions in 2015 and with an exciting new global campaign starting to roll out, we have the opportunity to maintain this momentum into 2016 and beyond.”

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For the year ending December 2015, visitor spending grew faster (+18 percent) than international arrivals (+8 percent). Chinese visitor spending grew 44 percent, reaching a record $8.3 billion and edging closer to the $9 billion figure originally forecasted for the market in 2010 when Tourism 2020 was launched. Other nations that have significantly increased visitor spend in Australia over the 12 month period include: India (+38 percent), Hong Kong (+20 percent) and South Korea (+18 percent).

In terms of food and wine specifically, spending by international visitors has increased by 21.1 percent or $886 million since the launch of Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign, a figure that significantly exceeded the original target increase of $500 million for the period between December 2013 and December 2015. Total annual international food and wine spending as of December 2015 was $5.1 billion, up from $4.2B in December 2013.

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According to the most recent data from Tourism Australia, Australia is now ranked at No.6 in the world for good food and wine experiences for international visitors that haven’t travelled to Australia – a rise from 10th position in 2012. This ranking jumps to third position for those that have visited Australia and sampled our nation’s food and wine offering. France and Italy currently hold the first and second positions respectively.

Additional findings include:

  • Food and wine accounts for one in five dollars spent by international tourists in Australia
  • Over 960,000 international tourists visited an Australian winery in 2015, representing a year-on-year increase of 37 percent.
  • In terms of strongest associations with food and wine, 40 percent associate Australia with fresh local produce, 39 percent with fresh seafood, 37 percent with high grade meat and 32 percent for unique outdoor dining experiences