Record numbers of cashed-up Aussies head to Britain
Thanks to the strong Australian dollar, Aussie tourists are flocking to Britain in record numbers - and spending more time and money there. Photo: AFP
Record numbers of Australians are visiting Britain each year and they are are prepared to splash their cash, particularly on the theatre, opera and ballet.
A new report from Britain's national tourism agency says Australia is an increasingly important market because visitors from Down Under stay longer and spend more.
"Research actually shows Australian holiday visitors have the highest propensity to go shopping during their stay compared with all other major markets," VisitBritain marketing manager Mark Haynes said in a statement.
That's partly down to the strong Aussie dollar.
In 2011, more than one million Aussies ventured to Britain, placing Australia eighth on the table of inbound visitors.
But due to longer-than-average stays Australia is Britain's fifth most important market in terms of visitor nights. It's ranked fourth when it comes to spending.
On average Aussies stay for 12 nights and pump STG900 ($A1320) each into the UK economy. Half of that spending occurs in London and 10 per cent in Scotland.
Australian tourists are twice as likely to attend the theatre, opera or ballet compared with other visitors.
Common language is a factor, but Australians also have a much higher propensity to visit castles, religious buildings and historic houses.
Nearly half of antipodean holiday makers will visit a museum, with one in three attending an art gallery.
Almost 45 per cent of all Australians believe a trip to Britain will be "educational".
"Australians are actually some of the most likely visitors to Britain to indulge in a bit of culture," STA Travel spokeswoman Andrea Robinson said in a statement.
Ms Robinson said the VisitBritain research dispelled the myth that Australians were "sun-loving layabouts".
Australians rank Britain as their third favourite tourist destination.
Brits themselves are ranked number two (out of 50 nations) as a likeable people, but the country's natural beauty is a more lowly 13th.
Nine per cent of all outbound trips from Australia end in the UK.
That places Britain second behind neighbouring New Zealand which is the top travel destination. The United States comes in third.