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As Australia transitions to a more diversified service-based economy, tourism is becoming increasingly important, and has the potential to be Australia’s fastest growing industry. The most recent satellite accounts show that tourism Gross Domestic Product grew 7.4% in 2015–16, well ahead of the rest of the economy.

To ensure that demand aligns with supply, and that the industry grows in a sustainable way, clear strategies are required to cater not just for the economic aspects of tourism, but for the environmental and social effects as well. Well-targeted advice is also needed to inform future planning and investment decisions.

Tourism Research Australia’s (TRA) forecasts support these goals by providing policymakers, planners and investors with a decade long view on changes in:

  • inbound arrivals, focusing on Australia’s main international markets n purpose of travel for inbound arrivals
  • visitor nights and expenditure for international and domestic travellers
  • international and domestic visitor nights for the states and territories
  • outbound travel by Australian residents, and the main country they visit.

With one of the most important outputs from tourism forecasts being the estimation of future visitor spend, results from this year’s forecasts show:

  • Australia’s tourism industry is meeting expenditure targets By the end of 2020, it is forecast that total tourism spend, excluding day trips, will reach $131 billion, placing the industry slightly above the midpoint of the $115 to $140 billion spend target set under Tourism 2020.
  • International tourism will capture a greater share of the visitor dollar Inbound visitor spend is forecast to grow strongly and increase its share from 33% in 2016–17 to 44% in 2026–27, while domestic tourism spend is on track for moderate growth.
  • China is set to become our largest international market By 2017–18, China is expected to overtake New Zealand to become the largest source of both inbound arrivals and inbound spend.
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