Australia

  • Australia is the world’s smallest continent, and the world’s only continent to consist of just one country.
  • It was first discovered by the Dutch in 1606 who christened it New Holland, but in 1770 it was claimed by the British and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales, commencing in 1788.  The country was of course inhabited for more than 42,000 years by indigenous Australians.In January 1901 the then 6 colonies became a federation and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed.
  • The capital city is Canberra, and Australia’s population is 21.3 million, with about 60% of those concentrated in and around Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
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  • Australia has an enviable, strong economy with a per capita GDP on par with the four dominant West European economies.  Robust business and consumer confidence and high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products are fuelling the economy, particularly in mining states.  Australia’s emphasis on reforms, low inflation, a housing market boom, and growing ties with China have been key factors behind the economy’s 16 solid years of expansion.  Drought, robust import demand, and a strong currency have pushed the trade deficit up in recent years, while infrastructure bottlenecks and a tight labour market are constraining growth in export volumes and stoking inflation.  Australia’s budget has been in surplus since 2002 due to strong revenue growth.
  • Australians are good travellers with an estimated 5.5 million overseas trips taken in 2007.  New Zealand is the most popular destination with a 16.5% share of trips followed by the USA with 8% and the UK with 7%.  Their stay abroad averages 22 days, while 60% are over 1 month.
  • 122,000 Australians visited Ireland in 2007 and generally speaking the numbers have been fairly static in recent years.  Our best year ever was 2000, when 148,000 visitors came from Australia.
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  • Their average length of stay here is over 8 nights, and it is estimated that over 70% are on a multi-destination trip.  Dublin and the South West are the most popular destinations within Ireland, though many visit other regions too.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, one-fifth are repeat visitors.  A slight majority (53%) travel as couples.  Most age groups are strongly represented, which tends to jar with the typical image of Australians.
  • Getting here is relatively easy except for the long journey.  There are excellent air connections over London and other major European capitals, and more recently attractive connections are available through Abu Dhabi.
  • For more, much more, click here to the Tourism Ireland site.
  • Next up – The Netherlands.
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