From 500 to 1.2m in 40 years, ah Chinese tourism

In the 40  years from 1976 to 2016 the number of Chinese tourists to Australia has grown from just 500 (no-one ever said communism was good for tourism) to 1.2 million.

"China has almost caught up to New Zealand as the most popular source country for visitors to Australia," said Jessica Noack from the ABS Migration Analysis and Reporting Team .

"After China, visitors from Vietnam had the highest growth rate over the past 40 years, growing from 100 in 1976 to 70,500 in 2016.

"United Arab Emirates had the next highest growth rate, increasing from 100 in 1976 to 40,900 in 2016 while visitors from South Korea grew from 1,200 in 1976 to 286,000 in 2016.

Seven countries featured in Australia's top 10 tourism natures in both 1976 and 2016: New Zealand, USA, UK, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

"In 1976 these seven made up over two-thirds of short-term visitor arrivals while in 2016 those same countries accounted for over half of the total number of short-term visits.

"Countries that made the top 10 list in 2016 that didn't appear in 1976 were China, South Korea and India.

"In 2016, New Zealand was still our top source country, with the number of short-term arrivals nine times higher than that in 1976.

"After New Zealand and China, the most popular sources of travellers in 2016 were the USA (714,700), the United Kingdom (709,600) and Singapore (443,600)."

New South Wales remained the most popular destination for overseas visitors in 2016, claiming nearly 38% of all short-term trips, followed by Victoria (25%) and Queensland (22%).

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Top 10 Source Countries in 2016 Calendar Year, Australia, Trend Series

2016
1976
Source countries
'000
'000

New Zealand
1 340.2
148.6
China
1 213.1
0.5
United States of America
714.7
75.3
UK, CIs & IOM(a)
709.6
72.7
Singapore
443.6
9.4
Japan
411.6
27.9
Malaysia
388.0
10.3
Korea, South
286.0
1.2
India
260.4
3.6
Hong Kong
245.6
10.8
Total(b)
8 247.8
535.6

(a) United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. 
(b) Total includes short-term arrivals from every source country so components will not add to the total.

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