Australia is proving a winner with international travellers, with new data showing they are staying longer and often spending more than before the pandemic.

Tourism Research Australia has found the amount of money being spent by overseas travellers per night is slightly higher than pre-COVID in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.

New Zealand, China, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States are the ones with the most citizens seeking an Australian holiday.

People gather to watch the sunrise from the Mt Coot-tha Lookout in Brisbane, which has set a new record for international visitors and spending.(AAP: Darren England)

Queensland has grown into a favoured stop for visitors, with Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast recording the highest overnight spending rates ever.

Travellers spent $3.2 billion in Brisbane and $371.1 million on the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile foreign travellers to the Whitsundays, Southern Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Coast and Outback Queensland had tourists spending rates above 2019, before coronavirus arrived in Australia.

They stay longer and spend more’

Peter Lynch, who operates whale watching tour company Blue Dolphin Marine at Queensland’s Hervey Bay, said it was great to see international tourism coming back.

“We’re seeing quite a few more North Americans coming through now,” he said.

“And when we come into our witching season, it’s the northern hemisphere summer, so lots of Europeans.

“The Hervey Bay and Queensland market does very well with tourists from the UK, Germany, Holland, France and Italy. 

“We are definitely seeing an increase across all the tours in the region.”

Soumy Sebastian, left with daughter Rosann from Brisbane are two visitors ready to go whale watching at Hervey Bay on Wednesday.(ABC Wide Bay, James Taylor )

Tourism Minister Michael Healy said Queensland was the “top performer” for international visitor spending.

“Our international tourists, they stay longer and they spend more — and they’re the ones we really want ot focus on.

“We want to make sure that we’re getting them here.”

He said an increase in arrivals from South Korea and Canada had boosted numbers, but conceded “we are yet to see a full return of visitors from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, a challenge shared across Australia”.

Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT all had more visitors spending more money compared to late last year, but fell short of the 2019 levels.

The Northern Territory was the only part of the country where spending went down since the previous survey.

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Posted , updated