Recent data published by Tourism Research Australia has suggested that the international tourism sector is continuing to recover, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since December 2023, compared to that of the year ending in December 2022, Australia’s international tourists were seen to almost double, with upwards of 3.5 million tourists in 2022 and over 6.5 million tourists in 2023.

The top cause of inbound Australian travel was for tourism purposes, with 2.6 million visits.

This was closely followed by visiting relatives with 2.4 million trips and other reasons for travel including business, employment, and education.

Seven Continents Australia travel agent, Maha Noore said most tourists entering the country are coming for their delayed trips that were planned pre-pandemic.

“Many tourists are using their credits they received from tourism companies from our COVID period, so we are seeing a lot of tourists who are coming for their three year delayed international holiday,” Ms Noore said.

Ms Noore said that tourists are coming to Australia to enjoy the nature and landscapes, rather than having a luxury, city holiday.

“You don’t really come to Australia for luxury and cities and things like that. You come for nature, and the outback, things that are different, things that cannot be replicated anywhere else,” Ms Noore said.

“I would send them to the Daintree rainforest, to the Reef, to Uluru, all of that sort of thing.

“People are here to see the landscape, things they can’t get anywhere else in the world.”

British backpacker Liv Robinson, 24, said the best part about visiting Australia is the culture and the landscapes.

“The best part is the laidback culture, and the environmental landscapes are just beautiful,” Ms Robinson said.

“When you come to Australia you have to see the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Sydney, Melbourne and get to The Kimberley or Western Australia if you can.”

The data released by Tourism Research Australia showed the top five international tourism markets for Australia included New Zealand, The United States of America, The United Kingdom, China and India.

Ms Noore said that tourists travelling from the America, China and India are her most common clients.

“The most prominent nationalities in my clients are commonly Americans or tourists from China or India,” Ms Noore said.

“It is very difficult for some countries to get visas to Australia for tourism purposes. For places like Africa for example, it is almost impossible for a visa to be attained.”

Within the year ending December 2023, $28 billion was spent from international tourism in Australia, which is more than four times the amount compared to the year ending December 2022, which saw $6.2 billion spent.

In an Australian tourism 2023 media release, Minister for Tourism Don Farrell said tourism in Australia is a primary earner and employer.

“Tourism is a major export earner and employer. One in eight Australian businesses is tourism-related and it is the lifeblood of so many Australian communities,” Mr Farrell said.

The Australian Government recently released the THRIVE 2030 strategy for long-term growth, in efforts to rebuild the visitor economy to that of pre COVID-19 levels. The strategy has set a target of returning tourism expenditure to $166 billion by 2024 and growing that to $230 billion by 2023.

Ms Noore said that the THRIVE 2030 strategy was discussed at the Australian Tourism Exchange 2024, (ATE24), recently hosted at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

“ATE24 is run by Tourism Australia where collaboration and discussion on THRIVE 2030 and other tourism strategies took place,” Ms Noore said.

“All the states are involved and a lot of the suppliers of travel products for things like the Ghan, luxury lodges and all sorts of experiences participate in it, and many international tour agencies are invited.”

Ms Noore said that although all states participated in the ATE24, as the world opened its borders after the pandemic, the Australian Government has placed a higher priority on engaging international tour agencies to sell Australia globally.

This has meant that for travel agents like Ms Noore, less information and engagement on tourism strategies like ATE24 has been relayed.

“I’m aware of the strategy, but I don’t know the details, we have been left out of the loop,” Ms Noore said.

While there may be less information extended to the Australian tour agencies, Ms Noore said there has been an increase in clients.

“Tourism has gone up. We are predominantly seeing couples and families coming through travel agencies. Regardless, there are many more clients than in the previous year or two,” Ms Noore said.

While the international tourism sector in Australia continues to recover, backpackers and tourists like Liv Robinson, 24, are pleased the wait is finally over and Australia has reopened.

“It’s so great that young people like myself can finally enjoy what we’ve waited for so long to do. The past few years we either weren’t allowed to travel or were too hesitant to… now that we can, it feels great to tick off bucket list items like Australia,” Ms Robinson said.

“It’s every 20 something year old Brits dream to go backpacking around Australia. It’s amazing here, I love it.”