The Australian tourism industry is being hit hard by the global credit crunch, with new figures revealing a 7.6% decline of overseas visitors in September.
Experts say the downturn is forcing would-be tourists to hold on to their cash, but it’s going to get worse – they predict a 30% drop in holiday bookings for the first half of 2009.
New ABS data shows a 24% drop in Japanese visitors, and a 13% drop in American tourists. British visitors also declined 5.7%, along with Thai visitors, down 25.7%, and Korean visitors, down 21.6%. Total year-to-date arrivals to September have declined 0.9%.
Tourism and Transport Forum executive director Olivia Wirth told The Australian Financial Review the financial crisis is the dominant factor in the industry’s decline.
“Tight household budgets and concern about the economic situation across the world mean spending on travel is likely to be cut.”