Uluru AAP

Half a million tourists visit Australia in January

RECORD numbers of international tourists came to Australia in January, with almost 560,000 visitors during the month, up 8.7% on 2013 figures.

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics also showed massive growth in Asian visitors, with Malaysian arrivals up 40% and tourists from Hong Kong and Singapore both up 26% for the month.

It was welcome news for the tourism industry, with the Tourism and Transport Forum saying it marked the importance of the lunar and Chinese New Year to Australian tourism.

TTF chief executive Ken Morrison said Chinese arrivals were also up by two-thirds on January 2013, the figures were also up on 2012.

"On any comparison it's a strong result which also demonstrates the attractiveness of Australia as a destination for Lunar New Year travel, as well as the importance of aviation capacity to growing demand," he said.

"Pleasingly, January also saw increased arrivals from traditional markets including the UK (up 8.2%), Germany (up 10.6%), and Italy (up 15.0%)."

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