Rural and remote Australia is reaping the benefits as our tourism industry welcomes record numbers of both domestic and international travellers.

Story By Gretel Sneath

From station stays to epic walks and iconic watering holes, the freedom to discover far horizons and distant seas is proving to be a major drawcard for overseas visitors; last year’s nearly seven million tourist arrivals marked an 8.2 percent jump on 2014 figures, with an extra 561,000 people heading Down Under. International visitors spent $36.6 billion on their trips, representing a rise of $5.5 billion in one year – the largest jump since the Sydney 2000 Olympics. As the economy transitions from the mining boom and the lower Australian dollar makes travel here more affordable, tourism is consistently being named as one of the key sectors contributing to growth, with newly released figures putting the combined value of international visits and domestic travel at a record $113.5 billion for 2015.

“We’re inquisitive people who like to explore, and our sense of adventure is growing,” says Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan, adding that the rest of the world is also jumping on board. “We’re friendly and welcoming, with some fantastic cosmopolitan experiences – and then there are the unique outback experiences that sit alongside them.”“What we’ve seen over the past number of years is that the economy is now shifting towards the services-based industries, and tourism is a very critical part of that,” John says. “It is our largest services export and it is growing very healthily because Australia is good at it; we’re good at providing services and products and experiences.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #107

Outback Magazine: June/July 2016