50 years of tourism data
Tourism Research Australia (TRA) has taken a nostalgic look over its figures as the organisation celebrates its 50th anniversary year. The Austrade division was established in 1966 at a time when most tourism came from English-speaking countries and a flight from London involved five or six stops. Janice Wykes, TRA assistant general manager, said much had changed since then, with tourism now contributing A$47.5 billion to Australia’s GDP, employing 580,800 Australians and accounting for 9.6 per cent of export income. “Australia’s tourism industry is growing three times as fast as the rest of the economy,” Wykes said. “This is highlighted by figures released last month which showed Australia had welcomed more than 8 million international visitors (in 2015/16) for the first time ever.” China had become the second largest source of international visitors, after New Zealand, with more than a million visitors in 2015-16, she said. This was in contrast to past decades when the majority of tourists came from traditional markets including the UK, the US, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and Europe. Wykes said the need for evidence-based planning was more important than ever as Australia vied for its share of the global tourism dollar, and that TRA’S data provided valuable insights.