Cheaper airfares offsetting high dollar
From: AAP October 18, 2012 11:21AM
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TOURISM numbers to Australia continue to grow in spite of a high Australian dollar, because competition is reducing airfares.
Tourism Australia has told a senate budget estimates hearing research found travellers see Australia as a "high value destination" even though it's relatively more expensive to visit.
"Numbers are still growing, largely led by Asia," Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy told the committee in Canberra on Thursday.
But there had also been a return to growth in the number of travellers in the US and Japan.
The high Australian dollar "is not stopping people from coming", Mr McEvoy said.
"Often the consideration for the consumer is the price of airfares, and at the moment aviation capacity to Australia is growing quite well and the is a lot of great price competition out there."
Mr McEvoy told the hearing tourism was also growing despite an $8 rise in the international passenger movement charge (PMC) to $55 on July 1.
Arrivals grew 6.2 per cent in August and by 3.5 per cent in the eight months to August.
Separately, the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) renewed its call for the charge to be reviewed, in line with a recent Trans-Tasman report by the productivity commissions of Australia and New Zealand.
The group said after the charge was increased, arrivals from New Zealand fell - by 4.5 per cent in July and by a 2.4 per cent in August.
"The PMC is a tax on tourism which places a disproportionate burden on visitors to Australia from short-haul destinations like New Zealand, our number one source market for international visitors," TTF chief executive John Lee said in a statement.
The TFF wants the charge to be halved for visitors from New Zealand.
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