Aggregate expenditure by international visitors adds to Australia’s export earnings, and totalled $34.2 billion in 2015–16, an increase of $3.4 billion on 2014–15. This makes tourism one of our largest service exports – accounting for 11.0% of all Australian exports for the year.
Aside from exports there is an import aspect to tourism as well, which is measured by the expenditure of Australians travelling overseas. In 2015–16, the figure for outbound tourism increased 7.2% to $38.6 billion.
Therefore, over the year, while the value of imports increased, the value of exports increased even more, which resulted in a reduction in the trade deficit. In 2015–16, Australia’s tourism trade deficit narrowed to $4.3 billion, compared to $5.2 billion in 2014–15. This is the lowest trade deficit since 2009–10 – a period when there was very little growth in outbound tourism.