CHINESE and Indians have tripled their visits to Australia over the past decade, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.
China went from 190,000 visits in 2002 to 630,000 last year, while India rose from 45,000 to 160,000 in the same period.
Asian countries accounted for seven of the top 10 source countries for short-term visits to Australia, with Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong all in the top 10.
ABS assistant director of demography Neil Scott said the high Australian dollar last year had done nothing to slow visitor numbers, with a year-on-year jump of 270,000 short trips to total 6.1 million.
"New Zealand remains our biggest source of overseas short-term visitor arrivals with 1.2 million trips in 2012 or one in five visitors coming from there, but China is now in second place with one in 10, followed by the UK, the USA and Japan," Mr Scott said.
"The top five countries alone provided more than half of last years overseas visitors, and there were an extra 85,000 visits from China - an increase of 16%.
"The next largest increase in visitor numbers came from Malaysia, with a 9% increase."
New South Wales remained the most popular destination with a record 2.3 million overseas visitors last year, claiming more than one-third of all short-term visitor arrivals to Australia.
This was followed by Queensland and Victoria.
About 4.3 million overseas visitors came to Australia for holidays or to see friends and family, and the peak age group for short term visitors was 25-29 year olds.
The average amount of time people spent in Australia was 11 days, which has been consistent over the past decade.
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