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(Australian Associated Press)
Holiday-makers splurged a whopping $113.4 billion in Australia last year, with international and domestic tourists increasingly making trips to regional destinations.
Overseas travellers dropped $43.2 billion in the year to September, an increase of five per cent.
Chinese tourists continued to lead the way, with 1.3 million visitors representing an increase of eight per cent on the previous year, and the biggest chunk of the 8.4 million travellers who came to Australia.
Of those overseas visitors, 2.84 million chose to travel beyond capital cities and spent time in the bush, coast or outback.
People coming from India jumped 20 per cent to 324,000, while the number of arrivals from Japan was up six per cent to 419,000.
But with the exception of China, international tourists aren’t hanging around as long.
Americans spent 13 per cent less nights in the country, while New Zealand and British visitors’ trip lengths fell by seven per cent.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said it was encouraging to see more international visitors flock to regional destinations.
“This is great news for regional towns around Australia and it’s also terrific to see travellers moving off the beaten track,” Senator Birmingham said.
“This is exactly why 80 per cent of Tourism Australia’s current campaigns, feature tourism experiences outside of our capital cities.”
Spending by domestic tourists was up 10 per cent to $70.3 billion, with money spent in regional Australia increasing 10 per cent to $36.2 billion during the year.
“More and more Australians are turning to nature for their holidays, whether it be kayaking near Cradle Mountain in Tassie, cycling in the Blue Mountains in NSW or bushwalking in the Bungle Bungle Range in WA,” Senator Birmingham said.