Trade Minister Steven Ciobo welcomed the record $40.6 billion contribution overseas visitors made to the national economy in the 2017 financial year – the first time this figure has surpassed the $40 billion mark.
This, he said, represented a healthy 7 per cent increase on the previous year. Unsurprisingly, China made up both the largest number of tourists and the biggest spenders – with 1.2 million Chinese visitors shelling out $9.8 billion – 10 per cent up on a year earlier.
“During the past three years spending by international visitors has increased by 34 per cent,” Mr Ciobo said.
“The record spending is being driven by record numbers of international tourists who are staying longer and spending more while visiting Australia.”
Six states and territories enjoyed double digit percentage growth in tourist spending, led by the ACT, where spending rose by 27 per cent, followed by a 24 per cent increase in Tasmania.
Next was the Northern Territory (up 16 per cent), South Australia (12 per cent), and NSW and Victoria (11 per cent each). Western Australia managed an 8 per cent increase.
However, Queensland fell noticeably behind the rest of the nation, scraping together a much more modest 3 per cent rise. This was likely due in part, if not in full, by Cyclone Debbie, which devastated the Whitsundays area in March before wreaking havoc across the state and into northern NSW.