Australians take record seven million overseas trips

The number of overseas trips taken by Australians has hit record levels, topping seven million in the year to the end of October.

The latest data from the Bureau of Statistics paints a grim picture for the domestic tourism industry as Australians continued to make the most of the strong Aussie dollar and growing airline capacity.

Departures were up by a whopping 14.6 per cent while arrivals rose by 4.9 per cent for the 12 months but plunged by 2.2 per cent compared with the same month last year.

Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) managing director Christopher Brown says it's critical for the industry to work on both demand and supply.

"On the demand side, the world's best saleswoman is about to arrive in Australia," Mr Brown said in a statement on Monday.

"Oprah represents a promotional and endorsement platform that is second to none.

"Make no mistake, it is a coup that she has chosen Australia for her first international foray, and this will raise the profile of Australia in the United States and in the scores of other countries where her show is broadcast."

Mr Brown says while it's vital to keep driving demand through advertising and promotion, Australia has to make sure it has the infrastructure and services to look after tourists when they arrive.

"TTF is very much behind the recently announced tourism industry potential targets, but there's work to be done to ensure those targets are achievable," his statement said.

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"Planning and investment challenges must be addressed to facilitate the addition of 50,000 hotel rooms to existing stock to allow us to cope with increased arrivals.

"Labour and skills will also be front and centre, with another 100,000 people to be directly employed in tourism to meet the growing demand.

"And the number of seats on international flights to and from Australia will need to grow by 50 per cent, while domestic aviation capacity will need to grow by 25 to 30 per cent."

Mr Brown said the only way for these targets to be reached was for the federal and state governments and the tourism industry to work together.

AAP

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