IMPROVED flight capacities have lifted Asian arrivals to Australia, resulting in a six per cent increase in visitors from Asia for the year ending September 2012, led by growth from China.
According to the International Visitor Survey published by Tourism Research Australia last month, Asia accounted for 2.2 million of the 5.6 million arrivals (aged 15 and over), which saw a three per cent rise.
China overtook the UK as the second-largest inbound market, thanks to recent capacity injections by China Southern Airlines, Air China and China Eastern Airlines. New Zealand took the top spot with 1.1 million arrivals, followed by China at 573,071 and the UK with 558,149.
Queensland remained a popular choice for China. Chinese numbers were up 24 per cent to 248,000 and expenditure A$449 million (US$474 million), up 19 per cent.
“There are strong signs the state’s share of the China market will increase even further in 2013, with additional China Southern and China Eastern flights scheduled to arrive in the new year,” said tourism minister Jann Stuckey.
During the same period, 61,000 Singaporeans travelled to Queensland, up 11 per cent, staying longer and spending more year-on-year.
Stuckey remarked: “Scoot’s new direct Singapore-Gold Coast flights, which began in June, have also made an impact, with 31,000 Singaporeans travelling to Gold Coast in the year up to September, a 29 per cent increase over 2011.”
Meanwhile, India also performed strongly, with arrivals increasing 11 per cent to 30,000.
“We know aviation access is vital to increasing international visitor numbers and that is why the Newman government created the A$8 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund,” she added.