International visitors to Canberra spent a record $535.4 million in the 2016-17 financial year – a 27 per cent increase over the previous year.
Total international visitor numbers also increased by 9 per cent to 221,479 according to the latest ‘International Visitors in Australia’ report put out by Tourism Research Australia.
The increase in international visitor expenditure in the ACT was the largest percentage increase of any of the states and territories.
Tasmania enjoyed the second biggest percentage increase in spending – with expenditure in the Apple Isle increasing by 24 per cent to $457 million in the year ending June 2017.
Despite the ACT’s small geographical size, international visitors spent more money in the territory than they did in either the Northern Territory ($485 million) or Tasmania. The biggest expenditure was in NSW – at $10.1 billion.
The main reason international visitors came to Canberra was for leisure (167,413 visitors), followed by business (28,423 visitors) and education (17,874 visitors).
The ACT’s top international market is China, with 21.3 per cent of the ACT market, followed by the United Kingdom (10.6 per cent), the United States (9.3 per cent) and New Zealand (6.8 per cent).
Nationally, spending by international visitors reached the $40 billion mark for the first time in the 2016-17 financial year.
A record 7.9 million international visitors aged 15 years and over chose to travel to Australia – an increase of 9 per cent on the previous year. Their spending reached a record $40.6 billion, an increase of 7 per cent.
The growth in visitor numbers to Australia was underpinned by visitors traveling for the purposes of education and holidays.
Visitor numbers from Australia’s key markets of the United States, Japan and China increased the most.
Visitor numbers from the two other key markets of the United Kingdom and New Zealand only increased slightly and spending from UK visitors fell by 8 per cent to $3.5 billion.