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