Chinese tourists are visiting Australia in greater numbers and spending up big despite the strong local currency.
One in four visitors to Australia in 2012 came from Asia. China had the biggest growth, with Visa data showing an 11.6 per cent credit card spending rise in Australia last year.
British tourists, however, flashed the plastic the most, but spent 6.9 per cent less than in the previous year. United States visitors were second with card use, and spending rose 4.8 per cent even as the Australian dollar rose above the greenback.
New Zealanders were third, with their spending levels rising to 4.7 per cent. Visa’s Australia manager Vipin Kalra said the strong currency did not appear to be a deterrent for overseas tourists.
“Tourism is a huge contributor to the Australian economy and this growth comes despite ongoing concerns about the high Australian dollar,” he said.
Overseas Visa cardholders spent $4.8 billion in Australia last year, a 0.3 per cent increase, with $1.2 billion or a quarter from Asia.
Australians are also visiting Asia more, with credit card spending by Australians rising by 5.7 per cent in Thailand, 5.3 per cent in Singapore, and 1.9 per cent in Indonesia.
But they spent less elsewhere, with transactions falling by 14.9 per cent in Italy, 11.5 per cent in the UK, and 5.8 per cent in the US.