09 June 2008
Australian tourism counting on backpackers
The numbers of holidaymakers to Australia are in rapid decline, while more backpackers from around the world continue to hit the shores year after year.
The latest statistics reveal, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, more people are flying to Australia for business or academic reasons. In the past year, the number of business trips to Australia has increased by 4 per cent, and the number of students moving to Australia to study has increased by 10 per cent. Moreover, the number of holiday-makers has decreased by 80,000 people.
New South Wales has been the hardest hit, losing twice the national average of holiday-makers over the same period. This means $37 million less will be injected into the NSW economy by tourists.
Whether on working holidays or tourist visas, backpackers have not let down the tourist economy of Australia. "Backpackers account for a quarter of all nights booked in Australian hotels and their stays grew by 17 per cent year-on-year,” claims the newspaper. “Without backpackers the situation would have been worse; once they are taken out of the equation the fall in the number of visitor nights annually is greater."
The Queensland government, in partnership with the Australian government, other State governments and various organisations, has been planning strategies to boost tourism numbers. Currently, the Queensland, South Australian and Victorian governments are touring the UK to recruit skilled migrants to Australia to fill the skills shortages.