Australia is attracting more visitors from around the world than ever before, new data shows, while business travel Down Under is growing too.

Australia record visitors The Departure Lounge

Chinese, Kiwis lead the charge

For the first time ever, more than 10 million tourists will travel Down Under in 2019, according to new research by, the site that compares just about anything, crunched the latest data from Australian Bureau of Statistics to reveal the number of international visitors to Australia has grown by 8% each calendar year on average since 2012.

Overseas visits to Australia were set to pass 9 million annually for the first time last month, the new analysis showed. Bessie Hassan, spokesperson at Finder, said the love affair with the Lucky Country shows no signs of letting up.

“International tourists are pouring into Australia in record numbers,” Hassan says. “Overseas visitor numbers have grown by a staggering 44 per cent in only five years. The prospect of reaching the 10 million threshold in 2019 is really exciting.”

More than 8.8 million international tourists visited Australia in 2017, according to official statistics, 7% higher than the previous year. That number is expected to grow to more than 9.5 million by the end of 2018 and an unprecedented 10.3 million in 2019.

Business travel on the rise

Sharon Ho, Connections Group Marketing Manager, says clever tourism strategy has played a big part in attracting not only leisure travellers from overseas but also increased corporate travel numbers in Australia. The Connections Group brands that include CT Connections (corporate travel management), Executive Edge Travel (luxury travel) and Totem Group (conferences, events, group and incentive travel) are examples of Australian travel management brands enjoying yet another growth period last year.

“From a travel service company point of view, at Connections Group we are very pleased to see Australia’s inbound tourist numbers continue to increase year on year. With huge credit to the Australia Tourism team, they have certainly placed great efforts and influences in building the numbers,” Ms Ho said. “Over the years, our corporate travel and events team have seen an influx in corporate business travel and events held in major cities as well as regional Australia.”

Totem Group RMIT Engaging For Impact

Engaging for Impact: Totem Group expects a significant increase in numbers to RMIT’s 3-day event next month.

“One of our key events facilitated by Totem Group, our special events squad, is RMIT’s Engaging For Impact event held in February every year. Last year it saw almost 1500 delegates come from across Australia and internationally and next month it expects the number to increase close to 2000, which is just one example of upward trends in business events in Australia and obviously with these events, delegates move on to leisure travel.”

Ms Ho believes the ripple effect of such developments has meant a surge in travel to regional Australia both in business and leisure travel.

“Some of our top regional routes include Alice Springs, Emerald, Mackay and Coffs Harbour,” she says. “Many are business routes with a continuous upward trend from the mining and resources industries. Again, with a number of business travellers that come from an international destination, there is an increased interest in luxury regional leisure tourism in places like Kakadu where there are experiences unique to Australia.”

More than a million Chinese visit’s findings revealed the biggest overall growth for the past year came from China, with 1.08 million visits from January to September 2018, closely followed by New Zealand (1.35 million).

“Overall, 300,800 more foreigners visited Australia in January-September 2018 than during the same period in 2017. International tourism is booming with Australia receiving a growing market share of global travel,” Hassan says.

Tourism operators only just experienced the busiest month of the year with the number of overseas visitors peaking every December. A total of 754,400 international tourists flocked to Australia in December 2017, with that number expected to top 800,000 last month.

“…More hotel stays, more meals eaten in restaurants and more goods purchased in stores,” Hassan says. “And that means more jobs and a boost to our economy.”

Scott Podmore

About Scott Podmore

Managing Editor of The Departure Lounge and award-winning writer, newspaper editor, photographer/videographer and bestselling author who specialises in travel, music and lifestyle content. Follow on Twitter & instragram #scottpodmore

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