Tourism in Australia
Cameron Poetzscher on Tourism in Australia
Tourism is one of the key contributors to Australia’s economy and in the year ending 2016, 8.19 million visitors arrived on its shores. A unique combination of warm weather, beaches, diverse flora and fauna and some of the world’s most spectacular scenery makes Australia a very desirable and exciting destination to visit.
Hosting Visitors from All over the World
New Zealand provide the greatest number of short-term arrivals, followed by the UK, Japan, USA, China, South Korea and Singapore rounding off the top eight. According to Tourism Australia more than 1.3 million New Zealanders visited Australia in 2015, an increase of 6% from the previous year. New Zealand citizens don’t require a visa to enter Australia for travel, work or residential purposes. These accommodating conditions lead to high numbers not only in tourism, but also in immigration. In 2013 the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, determined that there were roughly 650,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia, which is about 15% of the population of New Zealand.
Australia’s tourist numbers are largely sourced from Asia and the South Pacific, where it is ranked as the 10th most popular tourist destination. Its location at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere along with the fact that it has no land borders limits the number of tourists compared with Asian counterparts like Thailand or Vietnam. Nevertheless,there is a dense and regular flow of tourists flying in or arriving on the hundreds of cruise ships that visit the country every year. Chinese tourists are also a significant part of the inbound tapestry as they constitute the largest percentage of international students attending the Australian tertiary education system – almost 35% according to Project Atlas.
Most Popular Destinations
There are many popular tourist destinations in Australia and many of them world famous. Here are some of the most frequently visited and celebrated locations:
The Sydney Opera House
One of the Australian sites that has become an international classic is the Sydney Opera House, situated in Sydney harbor. This UNESCO World Heritage site is considered one of the world’s greatest architectural icons. The location and design are a stunning attraction, as are the colorful events hosted by this multi-venue cultural center. The opera house was designed by Danish architect Jørn Oberg Utzon and inspired, as Utzon claims, by the simple act of peeling an orange.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge
The Sydney Harbor Bridge, which is often unofficially referred to as ‘the coat-hanger’ due to its arch-based steel design, took almost 10 years to build. Construction began in 1923 and ended in 1932. It is the sixth longest spanning-arch bridge and the tallest steel arch bridge in the world. One of the top attractions in Sydney is a guided tour of the bridge which takes visitors right to the top – 134 meters above the harbor. The bridge is the scene of Sydney’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations, considered by many as the best in the world.
Ularu (Ayers Rock)
Deep in the middle of Australia’s Red Center lies Uluru, once known as Ayers Rock. It is one of the most iconic natural wonders in Australia and the world. The rock itself rises to the height of 348 meters and the site is abundant with waterholes, caves, natural springs, and ancient paintings. This astounding sandstone rock formation is located in a World Heritage area and bears major spiritual significance to local Aboriginals.
Kakadu National Park
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Australia, the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park is the second largest national park in the world. It’s an intriguing mixture of rainforests, swamps, mangroves, gorges, wetlands and waterfalls with over 300 species of birds that have made the park their home. It can be explored by car, air or on foot when heavy flooding isn’t preventing access.
There is so much more Australia has to offer, this is just a handful of the brightest stars.