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Australia and Japan: it’s getting serious

Tourism Australia and Chris Hemsworth team up to show off our beautiful country3:00

Chris Hemsworth teams up with Tourism Australia to show off our beautiful country. Courtesy: Tourism Australia

Awesome Australia. Argentinian tourist Jesica Melul came to Queensland for the warm weather and beautiful beaches. Picture: Luke Marsden

Robyn IronsideNews Corp Australia Network

A TWO-WAY love affair between Australia and Japan was at the heart of a record month for the tourism industry in March.

Overseas arrivals were up 11.5 per cent on March 2015, to 754,600 - led by a 26 per cent increase in Japanese visitors.

At the same time, Japan experienced significant growth in Aussie arrivals with numbers up 32 per cent.

Mutual attraction. Just as Australians can’t get enough of Japan, nor can the Japanese see enough of Australia. Picture: AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi

Mutual attraction. Just as Australians can’t get enough of Japan, nor can the Japanese see enough of Australia. Picture: AFP/Kazuhiro NogiSource:AFP

Chinese, Hong Kong and South Korean travellers also continued to pour into Australia at a phenomenal rate, aided by increasing airline services and capacity.

Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan said there was “plenty to like about the figures”.

“With the region’s enormous emerging and emerged middle class, ever improving international aviation links and effective marketing, we continue to realise the tourism potential of Asia,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

“Feedback and early results from our new aquatic and coastal campaign have been very encouraging, so hopefully there is plenty more upside in the numbers for the rest of the year.”

State by state, the Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed Queensland and the Northern Territory were firmly back in favour with foreign tourists as the appeal of New South Wales and Victoria contracted.

So hot. Queensland’s Gold Coast is a tourist magnet. Picture: Tourism Australia

So hot. Queensland’s Gold Coast is a tourist magnet. Picture: Tourism AustraliaSource:Supplied

A new David Attenborough documentary on the Great Barrier Reef helped sell Queensland’s merits, which are set to be further enhanced when the Gold Coast hosts the Australian Tourism Exchange this month.

“Our flagship trade event will be attended by 700 or so key travel buyers from 30 countries around the world,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

“These figures will provide further ammunition to persuade them to make Australia the number one must-visit destination they recommend to their customers.”

Animal magnetism. The NT is seeing more international visitors, keen for authentic Australian-only experiences. Picture: Tourism NT

Animal magnetism. The NT is seeing more international visitors, keen for authentic Australian-only experiences. Picture: Tourism NTSource:Supplied

Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said the statistics showed why the tourism industry should be front and centre of the election campaign.

“Tourism is the industry that party policies need to back in the upcoming campaign, there is no doubt about that,” said Ms Osmond.

“TTF will be actively working during the campaign to encourage the adoption of policies that encourage more international visitors to travel to Australia by slashing the cost of visas, continuing to freeze the Passenger Movement Charge, scrapping the backpacker tax, investing in destination marketing and building the public transport and visitor infrastructure to make our cities more attractive destinations.”

Although Japan recorded the strongest growth in Aussie visitors, New Zealand remained our favourite place to visit followed by Indonesia, the US and Thailand.

Other countries seeing a boom in Australian tourists are Brazil — where numbers were up 58 per cent in March this year compared with the same time last year, Ireland (up 26.6 per cent) and Sri Lanka — up 24 per cent.

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