CANBERRA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese visitors to Australia remain the biggest spenders out of those from any countries, data has revealed.
Australia hosted 9.2 million international visitors in the 12 months to September 2018, Tourism Australia announced on Wednesday, up 6 percent from the previous year.
The number of Chinese visitors grew 8 percent to 1.42 million while Indian tourist arrivals had the strongest growth, up 19 percent to 345,500.
There was also strong growth in the number of visitors from France, up 6 percent, and Canada, up 7 percent, while those from Italy decline 1 percent.
Visitors spent 43.2 billion Australian dollars (30.9 billion U.S. dollars) in the 12 month period, up 5 percent, with 11.5 billion Australian dollars (8.24 billion U.S. dollars), or 27 percent of the total, spent by Chinese tourists.
Despite the number of visitors continuing to grow, visitors from most countries with the exception of China spent fewer nights in Australia.
The total number of nights that American tourists spent in Australia fell 13 percent while New Zealand and British tourist nights fell 7 percent.
According to Tourism Australia, tourists were increasingly flocking to regional Australia, with 2.84 million foreigners, or 30 percent of total visitors, venturing outside major capital cities such as Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
Australia's Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said that 43 percent of the money spent by tourists was now being spent outside those major cities and that Canberra, the nation's capital, was one of the major beneficiaries.
"We've seen strong recent growth in international tourist numbers to Canberra, but what is also encouraging is more and more Australians than ever are making the trek to Canberra," the minister told News Corp Australia on Wednesday.
"This strong growth in domestic tourism is great for local Canberra businesses," the minister said.