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Australian Casinos drawing record crowds

Australia is a land of plenty: blessed white-sand beaches and expanses of breathtaking scenery, full of friendly folk (and good-looking ones, too, if we say so ourselves...), and home to some of the most iconic natural and man-made tourist attractions on the planet.

Uluru and the Sydney Opera House would likely feature on any must-see list, and with good reason. You’d think that it would be any tourism-board executive’s dream. But there are some other destinations that we’re quite excited to see featuring high on the Euromonitor International list of the world’s most-visited sites – the Australian Casino resorts that we think are the match of any in the world. And the figures would seem to back that up.

Now it’s true that there are some criticisms of the Euromonitor figures, though mostly by tourism executives associated with rival destinations, we’ve noticed. You can be sure that the people at Crown Casinos and Echo Entertainment like to repeat the figures as often as possible: nearly 11 million visitors crossed the threshold at Crown Melbourne in 2010, with very nearly as many visiting Jupiter’s on the Gold Coast and the Star in Sydney drawing in about 9 million.

To put those figures into perspective, the Opera House saw less than 8 million visitors. Euromonitor themselves will attest that it’s ‘notoriously difficult’ to count the numbers of visitors to casinos, but we’d like to know how exactly they measure any of it.

What counts as a visit to the Opera House? We’ve never been inside it, but we’ve had a walk along the waterfront: does that count? Either way, the trend is difficult to argue with (and the statistics are someone else’s headache...). What is clear is the popularity of Australia’s casino resorts.

The owners of Australia’s first-rate casino resorts have been telling anyone who’ll listen what a significant contribution they’ve been making to the economy, and the tourism figures seem to back up the claim.

The growing wealth of the Chinese middle class, and its well-publicised enjoyment of a Casino Games bet, has been squarely in the sights of Australia’s casino owners, and they will be pleased to see that the numbers of Chinese tourists recently outstripped visitors from the UK to become Australia’s second-biggest source of visitors (behind the Kiwis – more than a million of them every year).

Those same Chinese visitors are already having the most economic impact of any single country: an estimated AU$3billion contribution to the economy. And it’s not just the Chinese: tourists from the US are heading over here in greater numbers than ever before. If they’re making the trip to visit Australia’s casino resorts, we can’t blame them, because they’re excellent...

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