Australia tourism rebound continues
Australia has been experiencing positive growth for the eight consecutive month, figures released last week claim. The final overseas arrivals and departures statistics released last week confirm the significant impact on the arrival of international tourists caused by SARS 12 months ago, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said.
The ATEC has also confirmed that despite April being the eighth consecutive month of growth the number of arrivals is still below the levels experienced in 2000. “The international visitor arrival figures for April are a positive for the industry and reflect the continued recovery of tourism exports in 2004. The 25 percent increase in arrivals for the month equates to 81,000 visitors but it was expected due to the severe impact of SARS in the corresponding period last year,” said ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley.
“We experienced an 11 percent total fall in visitors in April last year as SARS started to affect travel consumer confidence. The key Asian markets of Singapore, China, Korea and Japan all recorded falls of greater than 25 percent with North America recording a fall of 10 percent. These markets have all been restored this year.”
“Having said that the combined impact of terrorism, war and SARS has had a significant effect on total April arrivals over the last few years. Despite the 25 percent increase in international visitors for April this year the total of 402, 800 arrivals is still below the April 2000 figure of 405,600.”
“This is the reality for the tourism export industry. However, we are seeing business confidence increase on the back of recent industry activity at the ATEC Symposium, the Australian Tourism Exchange and the re-launch of Brand Australia. This activity is fostering a growing optimism and members are reporting increased levels of forward bookings for travel over the next 12 months.”
“The gradual recovery in international arrivals since last September has the industry on track to record the predicted 10 percent growth for 2004, led by New Zealand that is experiencing records levels of arrivals. This compares favorably with the domestic market that is again showing weakness. The National Visitors Survey released this week shows overnight trips, visitor nights and overnight expenditure all declining.”
“The Tourism Forecasting Council predicts that international arrivals will grow by an average of 6.2 percent between 2004 and 2013. Last month’s release of the Tourism Satellite Account confirmed that tourism export contribution to the economy dropped by half a billion dollars in 2002-03 due to world events including SARS. However, if the recovery continues to gather momentum tourism export contribution to the economy is predicted to grow from AUS$17 to AUS$28,” added Mr. Shelley.
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