The high Australian dollar has hit the fortunes of the tourism industry, but a leading forecaster is predicting the industry will see some relief soon.
Deloitte Access Economics says it expects the currency to weaken over the next few years, and that will be good news for the sector as tourists from China and other parts of Asia come to Australia for a holiday.
Deloitte's Lachlan Smirl says an increase in tourism from emerging markets in Asia is also offsetting some of the effects of the high currency.
"We are predicting growth of around 4.3 per cent over the next three years, and that's broadly on par with the long term average," he said.
"Something like 75 per cent of that growth over the next three years will be in visitor arrivals from Asian nations and, of course, leading the way is China which alone will represent around a third of the growth of international arrivals over the next three years."
The most recent Federal Government figures show that tourist arrivals rose by only 3 per cent over the year to September, and there has been continued jitters for the Chinese and global economies since then.
However, Mr Smirl says Deloitte is confident its figures are not overly optimistic.
"When you look at the composition of the Australian tourism industry at the moment, it's very much shifting towards the Asian markets," he explained.
"So markets like Europe and New Zealand, traditionally the major source markets for Australia, while they remain important and very much are important to the Australian tourist industry, what's driving the growth is very much the growth of the emerging Asian economies."
Mr Smirl says the high local currency has had its bigger effect on the number of Australians leaving the country to holiday than it has on overseas arrivals.
"The dollar has certainly been a factor for Australian tourism, and I think it's come through most strongly on outbound travel by Australians, which as we know is at double digit growth over the last decade. What we're seeing there though is outbound travel by Australians easing," he said.
"At the same time we know that income growth is such a big driver of travel, especially international travel. The fact that China and India and these markets that are becoming more significant to Australia continue to grow, these economies continue to grow at quite a strong pace, is ultimately a stronger support on the Australian tourism industry now."
Mr Smirl says there is also some positive signs emerging for the struggling Queensland tourism market.
"Western Australia and Queensland continue to lead the way," he observed.
"Chinese visitors to the Gold Coast grew faster than Chinese visitors to Australia overall, so there are some positive signs for these traditional leisure destinations as well."