New report shows fast food on the menu for international visitors

Sydney, 05 May 2011

Visa's 'Tourism Outlook: Australia' report shows visitors are increasingly searching for ways to stretch their travel budgets

International visitor spending on Visa cards in Australia dropped by four percent to $5.1 billion in 2010, reflecting the challenging financial times and the rising Australian dollar, according to the Tourism Outlook: Australia, a report released today by Visa that analyzed Visa cardholder spending over the past two years.
However, spending at fast food outlets rose by nearly 42 percent and shopping at discount stores rose by 37 percent as visitors found ways to make their travel budgets stretch further.
Visa’s Country Manager Australia, Vipin Kalra, said the figures highlighted a trend for international visitors to look for value in line with more conservative spending patterns following the global financial crisis.
“The high Australian dollar has certainly had an impact on spending, with international visitors increasingly attracted to bargain hunting and saving money in areas such as dining out,” Mr Kalra said.

The report shows a strong increase in spending at fast food outlets of 42 percent to $17.2 million during 2010, while spending at restaurants rose by four percent to $202.9 million.  Chinese visitors recorded the biggest increase during the year on spend in restaurants – with total Visa card spend up 16 percent to $12.2 million.
The chief executive of peak industry body Tourism & Transport Forum, John Lee, said China is Australia’s fastest growing inbound market.
“The number of Chinese visitors coming to Australia jumped by almost a quarter in 2010 and China is now our third biggest source market,” Mr Lee said.
“We also saw double digit growth in arrivals from other key Asian countries and Australia is in a great position to capitalise on the potential offered by these emerging markets.”
Other findings in the Tourism Outlook: Australia report include:

  • UK visitors were the biggest Visa card spenders at $973.3 million (down 3 percent), followed by the US at $638.9 million (down 7.9 percent).
  • Visa card spending was higher among visitors from Asia including China (up 2 percent), Indonesia (up 9.9 percent), Singapore (up 2.4 percent), Malaysia (up 4.8 percent) and South Korea (up 6.3 percent).
  • overall spending on accommodation rose by 4.6 percent to $600.52 million.
  • in the retail sector, spending at electronics stores rose by 18 percent to $29 million and discount store spending was up 37 percent to $5 million, but department store spending was down 16 percent to $84.6 million.
  • the value of an average Visa card transaction by international visitors in 2010 was $171.40, with the total number of Visa card transactions rising slightly at 0.2 percent to 30.2 million.

Mr Kalra said the outlook for Australian tourism remained positive despite the continuing strength of the Australian dollar and recent natural disasters.
“The tourism industry has shown incredible resilience in tough times and Australia remains a very desirable destination for travellers, particularly from Asia,” he said.


Total Spend on Visa cards in Australia by Top 10 Source Markets


Click here to see a full version of the report
Media Contact
Andrew Craig


About the report

Visa cardholder spending data is based upon VisaVue® Travel data, which reviews tourism spending on Visa-branded payment cards by international visitors from key source countries while visiting Australia during the calendar years 2010 and 2009.

About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit