Tourism continues post-pandemic bounce back

Sunrise at Uluru. | Newsreel
International tourists are returning to Australia. | Photo: Simon Bradfield (iStock)

Visitors to Australia from Vietnam and Ireland have surged back past pre-pandemic numbers, while Chinese tourists are slow to return in numbers, according to the latest industry data.

The tourism sector’s State of the Industry report shows the spending in the sector hit $208 billion in 2023.

Federal Tourism Minister Don Farrell the tourism sector had continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and that international visitor spend was forecast to reach pre-pandemic numbers next year.

Senator Farrell said the report showed strong growth in international visitation and spend in 2023, with international visitor spend reaching $28 billion, up 120 percent on the previous year.

“International visitor arrivals reached 7.2 million, up 95 percent on the previous year, with the largest international markets being New Zealand, the USA, the UK and China.”

While China remained a large market, the report showed arrivals from that country last year were 63 percent down on 2019 numbers.

In comparison, the report found visitors from Vietnam and Ireland were up by 35 percent and 18 percent, respectively, on the 2019 figures.

Senator Farrell said after a bumper few years for the domestic tourism industry, locals continued to take the opportunity to holiday at home, with domestic overnight trip spend up eight percent to $109 billion, and domestic day trip spend up 13 percent to $33 billion in 2023.

He said the report forecast tourism spend in Australia was set to increase by 31 percent over the next five years, which was 61 percent above pre-pandemic levels.

The report did note that, despite the recovery in spend in 2023, some parts of the visitor economy met persistent challenges.

It found some tourism sectors or regions faced ongoing supply constraints, including workforce and skills shortages, supply-chain disruptions and rising cost pressures.

It also found there was a pullback in discretionary spending in 2023 and the domestic sector was affected by some Australians preferencing overseas trips rather than domestic trips.

Read the full report.

Visitor spend