The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports in 2010 to 2011 financial year Australia reported a record year for overseas tourist numbers with a moderate growth in numbers.

Despite a year of global economic challenges and natural disasters, tourism growth was supported by increased consumption by international visitors (up 4.4% over the previous year), largely due to an increase in the number of visitors from overseas (up 3.8%) while average consumption per visitor stayed relatively stable (up 0.6%).

Last financial year saw a record number of overseas arrivals in the financial year, with 5.9 million short-term visitor arrivals to Australia (up approximately 214,500 visitors on the previous year or 588 extra visitors a day). The increase was led by gains from China, New Zealand and Malaysia. China and South-east Asia accounted for close to one in four short-term overseas arrivals in 2010-11, up from one in six only five years ago.

On the back of a strong Australian dollar, 2010-11 also saw a record 7.4 million short-term resident departures from Australia, an increase of 9.9% from 2009-10 (or 1,842 additional resident departures a day). Departures to nine of Australia’s top ten destinations increased. This was led by Indonesia (up 23.5%) and the United States (18.3%).

The ABS estimates tourism contributes about $94 million a day to the Australian economy and accounts for 8% of export earnings. for full copy of the ABS press release.