17/09/2008 - 22:00

Overall visitor numbers up but UK slides

17/09/2008 - 22:00

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INTERNATIONAL visitors to Western Australia are still spending more and staying longer than visitors to any other state, according to the latest international visitor survey by Tourism Research Australia.

Overall visitor numbers up but UK slides

INTERNATIONAL visitors to Western Australia are still spending more and staying longer than visitors to any other state, according to the latest international visitor survey by Tourism Research Australia.

For the year ending June 2008, WA received 671,000 international visitors, up almost 4 per cent on the previous corresponding year.

International visitors to WA spent a total of $1.6 billion, up from $1.4 billion last financial year.

That's a spend of $2,500 per visitor, the highest of all states, with visitors staying on average 27 nights, also the highest in the country.

But while those figures may look good, the drop in visitor numbers from some of the state's key markets is a concern.

Visitor numbers from WA's largest tourist market, the UK, fell almost 3.5 per cent to 165,000 visitors.

Visitor numbers from Japan, WA's fifth biggest market, dropped 17 per cent to 37,000 visitors, while visitors from WA's number two market, Singapore, remained steady at 63,000.

There was an 8 per cent increase in visitors from Malaysia, to 40,000.

New Zealanders came to WA in increasing numbers, up 28 per cent to 59,000, making it now the state's third biggest market. UK visitors were the biggest spenders, spending a total of $312 million in WA, followed by Singapore ($220 million) and Malaysia ($157 million).

Almost half of the international visitors to WA came for a holiday, while about 15 per cent came on business.

But international visitors for education purposes staged the biggest increase on last year, with 41,000 people coming to WA to receive education, up 24 per cent on last year.

Tourism Australia managing director Geoff Buckley said the report highlighted the increased yield coming from international travellers.

Mr Buckley said the decline in numbers from some key markets reflected the challenges of the current international environment.

The Tourism Forecasting Committee predicts international visitor arrivals will remain unchanged in 2008 from 2007 levels, before increasing in 2009 by an estimated 3.2 per cent.

The tourism industry is pinning its hopes on the potential tourism benefits of the international release of Baz Luhrmann's film Australia, scheduled for November.

Both Tourism Australia and Tourism Western Australia are intending to launch marketing campaigns to coincide with the movie.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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