Australian tourism continues to recover

  • Media release

International visitors are expected to return to Australia more quickly than previously predicted, according to Tourism Research Australia's latest forecasts.

The Tourism forecasts for Australia: 2023 to 2028 report published today outlines a stronger growth for international arrivals than last year's forecasts.

This reflects the return of Chinese visitors to Australia since China's borders reopened in January, and following the restart of group tour travel from China to Australia in September.

Sustained high growth in international arrivals to Australia so far this year, the continued return of flight routes and commencement of new routes to Australia also underpin the encouraging projections.

Australia is predicted to welcome:

  • 7.3 million international visitors in 2023, almost twice as many as last year (3.7 million)
  • 9.3 million in 2024, reaching 98 per cent of pre-pandemic levels;
  • 10.2 million in 2025, surpassing pre-pandemic levels to set a new record;
  • And 12.1 million in 2028, an increase of 4.8 million or 65 per cent on this year.

The report also forecasts record spending across Australia's tourism and travel industry, which delivers benefits for accommodation, hospitality, transport, experience and event providers, and retail.

Excluding students who stay in Australia for more than 12 months, both domestic and international travellers are predicted to spend $170.3 billion in 2023, 23 per cent ($31.9 billion) above pre-pandemic (2019) levels.

International visitors alone are projected to spend $28.6 billion in Australia this year, a 124 per cent increase on 2022. This means every international tourist we welcome is spending almost $4,000 on average in our communities.

The report also points to significant increases in expected visitors from a number of countries in Southeast Asia, as well as continued strong growth in travel from China.

Deepening Australia's economic engagement with Southeast Asia is a key priority for the Government, and the Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 charts a pathway to further grow inbound tourism in our region.

While domestic travel stabilised in 2023, after a rapid bounce back in 2022 from the pandemic, the report forecasts that by 2028, domestic visitor spend will reach $172.6 billion, some 61 per cent higher than the pre-pandemic level.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Tourism, Don Farrell:

"Australia is the best place to live, work and visit, and thanks to our resilient, world-class tourism operators, international and domestic travel has bounced back.

"A thriving tourism industry is crucial to our economic prosperity, with every dollar spent in the visitor economy generating a further 81 cents for other parts of the economy.

"Tourism is a major export earner and employer. One in eight Australian businesses is tourism-related and it is the lifeblood of so many Australian communities.

"That's why the Albanese Government continues to back in our hard-working industry, including through Tourism Australia's $125 million Come and Say G'day campaign and our additional $48 million package of support for Australian tourism and travel businesses.

"It's great to see the rapid increase in international visitors to Australia this year, who are coming back in droves to come and say G'day."

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