Foreign tourists splash cash in NT
International tourists are spending more than ever in Australia, splashing out a record $40 billion in the past year.
The Northern Territory cemented its place as a major tourism drawcard, with the number of overseas tourists jumping by more than 20,000 over the past 12 months.
It's estimated foreign holiday-makers pumped $485m into the local NT economy.
Uluru, Kings Canyon, Kakadu and Litchfield were ranked at the top of most tourists' must-see list.
The biggest number of Chinese and American tourists to ever hit our shores helped fuel the seven per cent rise in spending, the latest International Visitor Survey shows.
Chinese visitors swelled to 1.16 million and they splashed out $9.8 billion during their stay, while a record 706,000 American tourists spent $3.8 billion.
Overall, 7.8 million foreign tourists visited Australia during the year to June, up by nearly nine per cent.
While New Zealanders remained our main source of foreign travellers, with just over 1.23 million visiting our shores, their spending flattened out and they stayed for less time compared with the previous year.
Chinse tourists stayed the longest followed by visitors from the United Kingdom. But both the number of British visitors and how much they spent dropped.
Federal Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo described the increases as "stellar".
"With wallets wide-open, international tourists are driving economic growth and creating jobs," he said as the survey was published on Wednesday.
"All states and territories are sharing in the record growth, with spending up across the country."
While holidays and visiting family and friends were the main reason for overseas travellers visiting Australia, there was also a healthy increase in backpackers.
Backpackers made up eight per cent of the total pool of foreign tourists, with their numbers up five per cent to 645,000 and spending seven per cent higher at $4.5 billion.
NSW, Victoria and Queensland were the top destinations for foreign visitors.
NSW soaked up most of the spending, which rose 11 per cent to $10 billion thanks largely to the 3.75 million international visitors who descended on Sydney and parted with $9 billion during their stay.
Spending by Chinese travellers in NSW exceeded $3 billion for the first time, with double-digit growth recorded by visitors from the US, Korea, Japan, India and Indonesia.
NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall said regional parts of the state enjoyed their highest volumes of international visitors and expenditure on record, with 813,000 foreign tourists spending $1.1 billion.
FOREIGN TOURISM SPENDING STATE BY STATE
* NSW, up 11pct to $10b
* Victoria, up 11pct to $7.5b
* Queensland, up 3.0pct to $5.2b
* South Australia, up 12pct to $1b
* Western Australia, up 8.0pct to $2.5b
* Tasmania, up 24pct to $457m
* Northern Territory, up 16pct to $485m
* ACT, up 27pct to $535m