Demand for Australian tourist visas is up despite the economic downturn due to growing interest from Asia
07 October 2011
Asian demand for Australian tourist visas on the rise
Figures released yesterday show that despite the global economic downturn, Australian overseas arrivals and departures are riding high with help from short-term visa holders from Asia.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) yesterday released the latest Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures which show that the number of overall short-term visitors to the country are up 3.4% in August 2011 from August 2010. The Australian Government said the figures are encouraging considering the global economic downturn and that a rise in demand for a short-term Australian visa is largely accounted for by the Asian market.
"The tourism industry is expanding beyond traditional markets to include new ones in Asia, which continue to grow strongly," Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said yesterday in a joint statement with the Minister Assisting on Tourism Nick Sherry.
“Today’s figures are a further reminder about the potential from Asia, and not just from China, but also our near neighbours in South-East Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. They give us reason to be optimistic about the industry’s future.”
Specifically the figures show that Malaysian applications for short-term Australian immigration are up by 34%, arrivals from Indonesia doubled and the already substantial demand from China rose by 21 %.
Meanwhile arrivals from Northern and Western Europe are down 4.1%, Southern and Eastern Europe down 3.7% and arrivals from the United States and Canada are down 4.4% and 5.0% respectively. The ministerial statement said this decrease in demand can be attributed to the "weak economic conditions" currently being suffered in these traditional markets.
Senator Sherry - who is also Minister for Small Business in the current Government - said the expected continuing rise of Asian demand for travel to Australia will have implications for the tourism industry.
"By 2015, our tourism industry may need as many as 56,000 extra workers, making the labour market even tighter," he said.
"Offering employees career-development paths is one of the best ways for employers to hold onto existing staff and attract recruits. The Labour and Skills Working Group adds value to that task."
The figures also indicate that the number of Australians travelling overseas has grown by 11.4% in the 12 months to August 2011.
Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy that specialises in helping people lodge applications with the Australian High Commission.