SYDNEY Oct 9 Australia attracted a record
number of tourists in August as a flood of visitors from China
defied the high local dollar, helping support spending and
employment in a country fretting about a cool down in its mining
Government data out on Tuesday showed short-term visitor
arrivals jumped 3.7 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted
514,100, passing the previous high set in June.
For the year to August arrivals topped 6 million for the
first time, led by a near 16 percent increase in Chinese
visitors to 607,900. The growth came despite an historically
high local currency.
"While some commentators debate whether the mining boom is
over, in the background China is becoming more and more
important to Australia in a host of ways," said Craig James,
chief economist at CommSec.
"This is still the early days of Chinese urbanisation and
industrialisation so the growth opportunities in coming years
Visitor arrivals from Japan were up 7.5 percent for the year
to August, while there were 17.5 percent more tourists from
Singapore and 5.5 percent more from Indonesia.
Australia was also attracting more migrants, with permanent
settlers up by 159,580 in the year to August to hit a 39-month
peak. Net permanent and long-term arrivals were equally as
strong at 290,980 for the year.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole)