Tourism

One of the most desirable destinations in the world

International visitors increased 11% to 8.3 million for the year ending 2016 while spend increased 7% to over $39 billion. (source: Australian Bureau of Statistics). Indeed, for visitor spend per trip, Australia ranks number one if the world (source:UNWTO).

International arrivals to Australia increased 9% to 7.7 million in the 12 months to March 2016. Holiday arrivals into Australia were up 16%, with double digit increase from many Asian countries, as well as the UK and the US. (source: International Market Update, Tourism Australia)

Overall visitor expenditure was up 17 per cent in the 12 months up to March 2016.

Nearly $40 biilion (£23bn) was spent by tourists compared to the previous year – up $5 billion.

Considering that 6% of Chinese nationals have passports while 47% of Americans have passports there is room for growth.

There are opportunities in the areas of:

short stay rentals

rental vehicles

restaurant operators

luxury goods

translation services

payment systems

electronic guides

Australia is keen to attract more high yield visitors to its shores. To achieve that, Australia needs both the means to bring the visitors in and the appropriate accommodation for them. This involves better airports, more efficient immigration and visa processes and pathways for investment to occur in the sector.

On the visa front, Australia has more agreements with more countries. For example, in the past 3 years Australia has expanded the number of countries it has working holiday agreements with to 39. Meanwhile visas have been simplified for Chinese tourists with the launch of the Frequent Traveler stream of visitor visas. This visa has been created specifically for Chinese visitors looking to make repeat trips to Australia and is valid for 10 years.

Flights

More airlines are flying to Australia. Sydney, Australia’s number one destination for international travelers, receives flights from 43 international destinations, including 11 from China alone. Qantas will be launching the first ever direct flight from Australia to the UK, with the inaugural flight scheduled for March 2018.

At Australia’s international airports, more automated ‘SmartGates’ have been installed, making the passport control process swifter. Business travellers possessing the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Travel Card can also benefit from the exclusive APEC lanes installed at Australia’s major airports.

Hotels

Hotel operators have spent millions to develop a suite of new, luxury hotels in Perth. Last month (May 2017), the Marriott opened the $70 million Perth Aloft Hotel, the first of the Marriott’s Aloft brand to be opened in Australia. In December 2016, the 500-room Crown Towers became Australia’s most expensive hotel to open its doors following a A$650 million build. While in 2015, Prince Charles opened Como The Treasury, the result of a $110 million redevelopment of the 140 year old former state treasury building.

These are exactly the type of projects the Federal and State Governments, along with Tourism Australia, have encouraged. Australia’s federal government funds the Tourism Major Project Facilitation Service, a free service that is operated by Austrade. The service helps investors in tourism projects to navigate the approval processes of state and federal government, as well as the Foreign Investor Review Board.

The service has assisted the likes of Malaysia’s Mulpha Group, that acquired the Rydges Esplanade Cairns in September last year for A$40 million. In Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, KCC Real Estate Development Company of China is investing $25 million in its first hotel outside of China on the grounds of Willow Creek Winery.

For individual investors, Australia has Business Innovation and Investment visas. These visas cater for significant investors, entrepreneurs with funding and established business operators looking to open a business in Australia. The Business Innovation and Investment visas enable the holder and their dependents to live and work in Australia.