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International tourism engagement

Tourism is a $143 billion industry that employs around 1 in 19 Australians, accounts for almost 10 per cent of Australia's exports and is a key driver of Australia's economy. In 2017-18, tourism directly employed more than 646,000 people and contributed 3.1 per cent to Australia's total GDP ($57.3 billion).
Tourism Research Australia: Tourism Satellite Account 2017-18

In the year ended June 2019, Australia received over 9.3 million visitors, an increase of 4.9 per cent on the previous year.
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Overseas Arrivals and Departures, June 2019 [PDF]

Visitors aged 15 years and over spent a record $44.3 billion, up 5 per cent on the previous year.
Tourism Research Australia: International Visitors in Australia March 2019 [PDF]

How does DFAT support Australian tourism?

DFAT supports Australian tourism by strengthening Australia's bilateral relationships with governments of key tourism markets such as China, India, Singapore and Japan. We work with other government agencies, including Austrade and Tourism Australia, to further enhance Australia's appeal to international visitors.

Australia's national tourism strategy, Tourism 2020, is a partnership between government and industry to grow the competitiveness of Australia's tourism industry. DFAT also seeks to advance Australia's Tourism 2020 priorities through multilateral tourism bodies, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Tourism Working Group and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Tourism Committee.


In 2016, Australia and China signed an updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) on tourism cooperation.

The MOU continues our successful tourism partnership with China in areas such as marketing, investment, labour and skills development, and research and infrastructure. It also continues the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme, which allows Chinese tourists to visit Australia in guided groups. More information on the ADS scheme (including contact details) is available on the Austrade website.

Under the MOU, we are streamlining visa processing and encouraging more independent visitors to travel between the two countries.


Australia and India signed an MOU on tourism in 2014. Under the MOU, Australia and India share information on tourism policy and encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders in both countries.

A joint Australia–India working group (JWG) on tourism meets every two years, with the first meeting, held in Sydney in 2015, producing a work plan for activities under the MOU from 2015–2019. The second meeting of the working group took place in New Delhi in June 2017, and Australia hosted the third meeting of the working group in Sydney in April 2019. Key points of discussion included visas, aviation links, traveller safety and opportunities for collaboration on tourism research.


Australia and Singapore signed an MOU on joint tourism cooperation in August 2017. Areas of cooperation under the MOU include tourism industry supply-side development; research partnerships and data sharing; and sharing of tourism information and insights.

Australia and Singapore hold tourism talks under the Australia–Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
The fourth talks were held in Singapore from 28 February – 1 March 2018. Outcomes and activities included strengthening the bilateral tourism relationship through constructive exchange of information and policy best practice; demonstrations of Singapore's innovative use of technology in hotel management; and, progress on research cooperation.

The next round of talks will be held in Australia in 2020.


In September 2019, Australia and Japan resumed the Tourism Dialogue with talks in Perth to coincide with ANA's inaugural Tokyo to Perth flight. The Dialogue strengthened the bilateral relationship and enhanced tourism cooperation.

Last Updated: 24 September 2019
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