The Gold Coast is a popular destination for domestic visitors.
The Gold Coast is a popular destination for domestic visitors. Cade Mooney

ABS figures reveal good growth in Aus tourism industry

THE tourism industry may be on the mend, with new figures revealing the sector grew faster than the total Australian economy last financial year - an average of $112 million a day.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the sector outpaced agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction, transport, postal and warehousing in 2012-13.

Assistant director of Tourism Statistics Sean Thompson said tourism gross domestic product grew 5.3% last fiscal year, compared with 4.9% for the entire economy.

"Domestic tourism was particularly solid, up 8.3% and showing the strongest growth we've seen since the late 90s," he said.

"The increase was mostly due to people making more trips. Domestic visitor numbers overall were up by 6.6%, driven by a significant increase in day trips - up 8% - while overnight trips grew a smaller but still solid 3.4%."

The driver of two-thirds of the domestic tourism growth was leisure travel, with the remaining third business travel, with business trips growing nearly three times the rate of household travel in 2012-13.

Mr Thompson said despite the high Australian dollar, inbound travel continued to surge - up to 6 million visitors, or 16,000 every day, last fiscal year.

He said the bulk of that increase was visitors from China, New Zealand, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Those gains were offset by Australians heading overseas, to the tune of 8 million out-bound Aussies, especially to Thailand, Indonesia and the United States.

Overall, tourism employed 531,900 people throughout Australia last financial year, and contributed 8.1% of Australia's total export earnings.

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