Big Money: The low dollar could already be boosting tourism

Most industries weren’t hurt by the high dollar as much as they’d think they would have been.

Our resources companies had a product so necessary China was willing to pay whatever it took to get it.

And our manufacturers upped their component imports, using the high dollar themselves to lower costs.

But some industries have been hurting. One of the industry’s most hurt by the high dollar, and least able to offset the costs, was tourism, which has been really hammered in the past few years.

Tourism affects more than just tour operators. Industries as broad as hospitality to retail all benefit from international tourism, and the low visitor numbers can’t have helped broader business confidence.

But in recent months, the dollar has since come down slightly from its record highs, and it seems this is having a positive effect.

Earlier this month saw the publication of the ABS’ data on short-term arrivals and departures. And it was hopeful.

June international arrivals were up 7.6% from May, and 10.1% up on where they were in June last year.

As well as the lower dollar, sport played a part. “This increase was driven mainly by the British and Irish Lions rugby union tour,” the ABS noted.

The figures also showed Australian tourism operators have plenty more to do when it comes to luring Australians to stay on-shore. There were more Australians heading overseas for short visits than there were foreigners coming here, so clearly we’re still trying to squeeze as much value out of the high dollar to fund overseas travel as we can.

But the dollar’s fallen even further since then. We’ll get new figures in two weeks, and it’ll be worth keeping an eye on where they sit.

Australia’s tourism operators could soon see things picking up.


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