Economy

Where the bloody hell are the tourists?

SmartCompany /

The high Aussie dollar is upsetting the tourism industry, encouraging Australians to travel abroad and making Australia more expensive as a foreign tourist destination.

These holidays, Australians are heading overseas in unprecedented numbers. And worse could be coming, reports The Australian Financial Review.

University of NSW tourism academic Roger March says it is conceivable that by the end of 2007 Australia could be in the position where it farewells more Australians than welcomes foreigners. He says in 2000 foreign arrivals exceeded residential departures by 1.43 million. By 2005 that had halved to 743,000 But for the first nine months of 2007 the gap is just 100,000.

While the increase in tourism numbers in the last nine months seems positive, it raises concerns, he says. Two of the most critical markets, the US and Britain, registered no growth for the first nine months, but healthy numbers from the low spending New Zealanders and the Chinese propped up overall figures.

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