The Asian tourist market for Australia is still growing, new figures on overseas arrivals released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday showed.

More than 39,000 Chinese tourists came to Australia in May, ranking third behind the United Kingdom (UK) and Japan.

"Other Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and India are also showing signs of significant growth and these markets are proving our savior amidst a decline from more traditional markets such as Japan and the UK," The new managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Felicia Mariani said.

She said the UK market in particular remained slow after the economic declined 10 percent over the past 12 months.

"It is no surprise to see the impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami taking its toll, with their numbers down by more than 25 percent over the previous 12 months, but fortunately the New Zealand market remains steady," Mariani added.

The ABS figures also show visitors from Malaysia are up by 12 percent annually, while more Australian holiday-makers went overseas with numbers up from 635,400 in April to 645,900 in May.

"The challenge for our industry is to embrace and grow these emerging markets and to find new ways to attract our domestic market back on-shore," Mariani said.

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