Both a drop in the Australian dollar and increasing Chinese interest in the region are likely to offer comfort to tourism operators facing uncertain market conditions, according to data released by Deloitte today.
Deloitte said the ability of the Australian economy to maintain growth as the mining construction boom peaks, along with weaker economic news from overseas, is creating a degree of uncertainty for tourism operators.
There are some reassuring signs for the tourism sector however with the lower Australian dollar projected to have a positive impact on the international tourism market over the next three years, according to Deloitte Access Economics' Lachlan Smirl.
"We forecast, for example, that as the dollar moderates over the next three years, expenditure by international holiday visitors will grow by 8 per cent per year in real terms," he said.
Mr Smirl said the lower Australian dollar is also forecast to bring benefits to the domestic tourism market as well.
"On the domestic side, it is also likely to further slow growth in outbound travel by Australians as the price-competiveness of local destinations improves," he said.
International tourism, especially from Asia, was still one of the main with Deloitte projecting that both the number of international visitors and the number of international visitor nights would continue to grow every year for the next three years to December 2012 by an average of 4.5 and 4.9 per cent per annum respectively.
Mr Smirl said one of the main growth opportunities for tourism operators would be the Chinese market.
"Broadly speaking, the size of the China opportunity remains unprecedented, for both capital city and regional destinations. If its growth trajectory were to follow a similar path to Japan, then in little more than 20 years, the number of Chinese visitors to Australia could parallel today's entire international tourism market," he said.
In a state by state breakdown of international visitor nights South Australia led the pack followed by double digit growth in WA and Queensland.
Domestic tourism growth, while positive, was not as strong as the international market, with visitor nights projected to grow by an average of 1.6 per cent per annum, and domestic visitor trips to grow by 1.7 per cent per annum over the next three years to December 2012.
Deloitte also identified strong growth in domestic visitor nights for Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania.