The boom in international travel by Australians continued through 2011 with a 9.6% surge, according to the latest Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Fastest growing major destinations were Indonesia (11.9% over 2010), USA (12.8%), Thailand (15.7%), China (22.5%) and India (11.4%).
Inbound for the year was down 0.2% to to 5.875m, possibly due to a flat second half (in the year to June 30, 2011, the number of international visitors was up 3.8%).
“A record 1.4 million Australians went to Thailand and Indonesia last year meaning fewer people chose an Australian beach or island resort holiday,” said John Lee from the Tourism and Transport Forum.
“With the dollar likely to remain strong for some time and investment in new resorts in south-east Asia, many leisure tourism operators in Australia are facing an uncertain future.
“The same global economic conditions pushing our dollar up are affecting our source markets.
“Uncertainty in many of our traditional markets has seen declines in annual arrivals, including from the UK, Europe, Japan, Canada and the US.
“Growth from emerging markets including China – now our third largest source country – Indonesia, India, and the Philippines has not made up for the falls.”