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A research note from Westpac shows that Australians made 7.8m short-term trips overseas in the year ending Jan 2012, up 9% from the same time last year.

australian dollar strength and tourism

In contrast, short-term arrivals remained stagnant, down 0.5% over the year to 5.9m.

"The subsequent 1.9m passenger shortfall is the largest ever seen and the trend suggests that this deficit will only widen. The effect on the balance of payments is clear as the tourism related services contribution to BOP has fallen from $7.9bn in the 2009 calendar year to $5.1bn in 2010 to -$0.5bn in 2011," says Time Cameron at Westpac.

According to the research note, this large drop off in the year just gone can be attributed to Australians not only making more trips but spending a little more, on average, each trip.

Also, while passenger arrivals haven’t fallen significantly, the amount tourists spend have, down 8% in 2011 vs. 2010.