Aussie tourists spend big on US trips
A record number of bargain-hunting Australians armed with credit cards and wallets stuffed with cash have been flying to the US and spending big.
With the Aussie dollar worth more than the greenback in 2012 and everything from electronic goods to designer clothes in the US at bargain prices compared to stores back home, Aussie tourists have been on a buying frenzy.
According to the US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, Australians spent a record-breaking $US5.5 billion in America in 2012, an increase of 11 per cent on 2011.
Australia ranks number eight in international visitor spending in the US, with northern neighbour Canada number one with $US26.1 billion, then Japan ($US16.6 billion), UK ($US13 billion), Mexico ($US10.1 billion), Brazil ($US9.3 billion), China ($US9.2 billion) and Germany ($US7 billion).
Australia edged out France, which came in ninth with $US5.3 billion and 10th place was India with $US4.9 billion.
"Visitors from Australia have spent record levels on US travel and tourism goods and services in eight out of the last 10 years, helping to propel Australia up in the rankings to our eighth largest market abroad in 2012," the US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries report states.
While Aussie tourists have been going on buying frenzies in the US, the big movers have been the Chinese, with figures showing Chinese visitor spending skyrocketing 19 per cent in 2012.
In 2008 the Chinese were not in the top 10, but with the Chinese middle class growing there has been double-digit growth in visitor spending in the US the past three years.
California has been a big benefactor, with the average Chinese visitor spending $US7,105 in California, the most of any overseas nation, with the average Aussie tourist spending $US4,782 in the state.
Australians are big shoppers, but they also like to spend cash on restaurants, sightseeing trips, amusement parks and stay in nice hotels while in America.
The research has found Chinese tourists tend to stay in cheap hotels and spend little on food, with a large percentage of their cash devoted to shopping.