This year marks a significant milestone - 50 years since Australia was first promoted to the world as a place to visit.

During the last 50 years the tourism industry has grown to be worth $120 billion and employs almost one million Australians.

Liberal Prime Minister Harold Holt established the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) in 1967 as the Australian Government authority responsible for attracting international visitors to Australia. At that time, just 222,000 international tourists visited Australia and spent $74 million. Today, Australia is breaking tourism records, attracting more than eight million overseas tourists who spend more than $40 billion.

Following the Tourism White Paper in 2003, the current federal tourism agency, Tourism Australia, was formed.

Australia has solidified itself as a bucket list travel destination through famous advertising campaigns; from Paul Hogan offering to throw another shrimp on the barbie, to Lara Bingle asking, 'Where the bloody hell are you?'

Having home grown superstar, Chris Hemsworth, as an ambassador in Tourism Australia's latest campaign has also helped propel Australia to new heights.

Tourism has grown to become a major driver of the Australian economy. Every dollar spent on tourism generates 81 cents in other parts of the economy, higher than mining, agriculture and financial services. Importantly, 43 cents of every tourism dollar is spent in regional Australia.

I congratulate Tourism Australia and tourism operators across the country for their outstanding contribution in promoting Australia as a must-see destination over the last 50 years.

The strength of Australia's tourism industry is a testament to the many years of unwavering commitment and hard work from those across the industry who work tirelessly to promote our beautiful country and ensure our products are of a world-class standard. Thanks to their resilience, the industry has continued to adapt, and perform within a changing global, technological and consumer landscape.

The Turnbull Coalition Government continues to deliver record funding to Tourism Australia to further fuel this growth. If the last 50 years are anything to go by, Australia's tourism industry has an exciting future ahead.

Media enquiries

  • Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555