The number of tourists to Australia grew by 4.2 per cent in the first half of 2007 to reach 2.7 million, with strong increases in Chinese and Korean tourists, according to figures release last week by the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

In the past six months, the number of Chinese tourists rose 20 percent to 180,000 and Korean tourists numbered 133,000, up 8 percent. Southeast Asian tourists were up 11 percent to 326,000.

New Zealand tourists rose by 8.2 percent to 521,000. Singaporean visitors increased 8.7 percent to 126,000.