The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released overseas short-term arrivals and departures figures for May, which contained more bad news for the tourism industry.
Short-term visitor arrivals decreased a seasonally adjusted -1.7% over the month, whereas short-term resident departures rose by more by 1.5%.
In the 12 months to May 2012, the annual number of departures increased by 7.2% relative to the corresponding period of the prior year, whereas arrivals rose by only 0.4%.
Taking a longer-term view, the ratio of annual tourism arrivals to departures remains at 25-year lows (see below chart). Little wonder the domestic tourism industry is hurting!
And as suggested above, the fall in the ratio of arrivals to departures has been caused predominantly by an exodus of Australians choosing to travel abroad rather than domestically:
In the year to May 2012, 7.9 million Australians holidayed overseas – more than double the level of 10 years ago (3.4 million). This compares to only 6.0m tourist arrivals over the same period (4.8 million 10 years ago).
South East Asia (particularly Indonesia and Thailand) remains Australia’s favourite holiday destination, receiving 32% of Australia’s departures in May 2012. This was followed by Oceania (20%), the Americas (13%), North East Asia (11%) and North West Europe (11%):
As usual, the Aussie bogan’s penchant for Bali and Thailand, in particular, is driving much of the decline in Australian tourism, with departures to Indonesia (Bali) rising 7% over the month:
By contrast, the most foreign visitors to Australia came from Oceania (mostly New Zealand) and North East Asia, which each accounted for 23% of arrivals in May 2012. This was followed by North Western Europeans (19%) and South East Asians (15%):
It will be interesting to see whether the decline in the Aussie dollar over the month of June delivers some respite to the domestic tourism sector in next month’s release.