Australia Sees Double-Digit Jumps in U.S. Arrivals

LOS ANGELES -- Australia recorded double-digit growth in U.S. visitors for the first quarter.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of U.S. visitors increased 11.6% in January, 16.7% in February and 18.3% in March compared with the same months last year.

The country's U.S. visitors totaled 329,586 last year.

"With these terrific results and our preliminary data for April also showing double-digit increases, the first half of 1998 is shaping up well," said Lyndel Gray, who is the Australian Tourist Commission's regional director, the Americas.

The ATC attributed the increase to several factors.

"The Australian dollar has lost considerable value against the U.S. dollar in the last six months, and many airlines are offering bargain fares,'' the ATC reported.

A number of tour operators have been offering air and land packages from Los Angeles for less than $1,000, according to the ATC.

The ATC also noted that more Americans are traveling, according to a recent joint study conducted by the Travel Industry Association and AAA.

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