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NZ edges out Japan as Australia's #1 Tourists

More international tourists are coming to Australia to holiday, are spending more and staying longer according to new research released today by the Federal Minister for Sport and Tourism, Jackie Kelly.

The report, International Visitors in Australia, March Quarter 2000, produced by the Bureau of Tourism Research revealed the number of international visitors increased by 7 per cent for the year ended 31 March 2000 compared with the same period in 1999.

The number of holiday visitors travelling to Australia increased by 8 per cent during the period, accounting for more than two-thirds of the growth in international visitors. Nights spent in Australia by holiday visitors increased by 14 per cent, with Europe and the United States together accounting for more than 90 per cent of this growth.

The overall number of nights international travellers spent in Australia increased by 6 per cent and expenditure rose by 4 per cent compared with 1999.

"The figures are particularly encouraging as they show strong growth in expenditure from the European and American markets. While visitor numbers are important it is expenditure that drives tourism profitability and employment"

Visitor numbers from the UK increased by 10 per cent, other Europe (excluding UK and Germany) by 15 per cent and the United States was up by 9 per cent.

Those visitors also increased spending in Australia, with visitors from the UK and other Europe (excluding the UK and Germany) spending 13 per cent more, while visitors from the United States spent 12 per cent more.

New Zealand was our main source country with 673 500 visitors, followed by Japan with 660 000 and the United Kingdom with 512 400.

"The results show that our traditional markets are continuing to be a strong source of visitors. The Sydney 2000 Games are increasing awareness of Australia as a hot destination and we can expect even more international visitors as people come to watch the world's most exciting sporting event."

The International Visitors in Australia, March 2000 report is available from the Bureau of Tourism Research by phoning (00612) 6213 6940.

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