Green Island Resort
Green Island Resort

Double digit growth from Asian markets has seen more than 5.8 million international tourists visit Australia in 2010, a new annual record and an increase of 4.3% on 2009, according to industry body, Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF).

TTF Chief Executive John Lee said the figures are a strong indication of the incredible potential of Asia.

“Eight of our 12 biggest source markets are in Asia,” Lee said, “and six of those grew by more than 10% last year.”

“China led the way, jumping 23.9% to more than 453,000 visitors in 2010, and rapidly closing in on the United States, our third biggest international market.

“Other countries with double digit growth include Korea (18.2%), Indonesia (13.8%), Japan and Malaysia (12.0%), and India (11.1%).

“Increased air capacity to these countries has played a big role – now we need to start investing in new and refurbished accommodation, attractions and tourism infrastructure to ensure that growth continues so we can reach the Tourism Industry Potential target of doubling overnight expenditure to $140 billion a year by 2020.

“Investing in new products and targeted destination development has the double benefit of not only attracting international visitors, but also encouraging more Australians to holiday at home, especially in the wake of the floods and cyclone Yasi and with outbound growth of 13.2% for the year, taking departures by Australians to 7.11 million for the year.

“It’s also vital to ensure that core tourism marketing funding is maintained, giving business certainty about entering into partnership agreements with tourism agencies.”

Lee said while 2010 also saw a recovery in business, conference and convention travel, with international arrivals up 14.9%, that is still just short of pre-GFC levels.

“Business travel is also critical to reaching the industry potential target,” Lee said. “Which makes additional investment in conference, convention and exhibition facilities, hotels and precincts like Barangaroo in Sydney all the more important.”