Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

8 Mar, 2012

Business Travel to Australia Up 5% but Leisure Down 4%, 2011 Stats Show

Source: Tourism Research Australia

International visitors to Australia remained steady last year although the mix of international visitors to Australia changed, with more coming for business and employment, and fewer coming on holidays, according to the latest International Visitor Survey.

Tourism Research Australia found that business travellers increased by five per cent, visitors coming for employment by 14 per cent, and holiday makers decreased by four per cent, compared with 2010.

The continuing tough economic conditions in Europe and North America, the high value of the Australian dollar and natural disasters such as the Japanese tsunami impacted on overseas arrivals, the survey found.

Despite visitor numbers remaining unchanged, overall visitor nights spent in Australia and overall visitor expenditure both increased by four per cent.

Business travel continues to record levels with business nights and spend up by 10 and 14 per cent respectively, while the employment category saw increases of 12 and 21 per cent.

The Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, said the figures were encouraging given the challenging operating environment for the tourism industry.

“The fact that Australia is maintaining its international visitor numbers despite the high Australian dollar is a positive sign. By staying longer and spending more in Australia, international visitors are increasingly high yielding customers who are experiencing Australia not only as a holiday visitor but for business and work- the changing mix of visitors is real opportunity for the tourism industry.

“The successful businesses of the future will be those that can adapt to these trends, invest for growth and take full advantage of the business services on offer,” Minister Ferguson said. “Many service providers to the mining industry, for example are seizing new opportunities, especially with the trend towards fly-in fly-out travel and the growth in business travel.”

The year also saw a continuation in the trend for visitor numbers from Asia to displace traditional markets such as Europe and North America. Visitor numbers from Asia were up two per cent, whereas numbers from Europe fell by four per cent and North America was down three per cent.

Growth out of Asia was led by China, up 19 per cent, with an eight per cent rise in nights spent in Australia and a 14 per cent rise in expenditure. Other markets to record strong growth in visitor numbers were Indonesia and India, up 13 per cent and seven per cent respectively. In contrast numbers arriving from Japan continued to fall, down 17 per cent as a result of the Japanese tsunami in March 2011.

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey is available by clicking here.