Growing up in Britain, until I was a teenager in the 1990s I think I'd only met two families who had been to Australia - one was itself an immigrant family to England, and the other lot were the extended family of a well known round-the-world sailor (who I guess had travelling in the blood).
The relative few who travelled to Australia returned telling tall tales of big bananas and three day train journeys (both I've since corroborated).
1986 was the year of Crocodile Dundee, and perhaps more significantly, the superbly cheesy soap opera Neighbours was first aired in the UK in October of that year.
The impact of Aussie soaps shouldn't be underestimated, for these were days when a popular episode - Scott and Charlene's wedding, for example - could attract an extraordinary 20 million viewers, well over a third of the entire UK population, let alone television viewing figures.
By the beginning of the 1990s around 20,000 short term arrivals Down Under per month hailed from the UK as the word spread, a number which had soared to nearly 600,000 per annum by the time of the Sydney Olympics, with the pound sterling periodically buying up to three Australia dollars (ah, the halcyon days!).
The annual number of UK visitors to Australia reached a crescendo of 741,000 by the early part of 2007, before a UK recession, a spate of quantitative easing, and a crumbling currency ended the party, knocking around 20 per cent from those figures.
Drivers of tourism
Touched upon above are a few of the drivers of short term arrivals into Australia. The headline numbers tend to be impacted particularly by exchange rates, awareness of Australia as a destination, household wealth and consumption patterns, proximity, mobility, and economic cycles.
People come to Australia for a range of reasons: predominantly for holidays, or to see friends and family, but also for business, for conferences, for education, employment, or for other pursuits.
We have already considered above the surge of UK visitors, fuelled by a strong currency, awareness of the desirability of Australia as a holiday destination, and a booming British economy, before a punishing recession led to a partial decline.
Oprah Windrey helped to raise awareness of Australia substantially for Americans upon her visit to the "Oprah House" in December 2010. But it wasn't until the exchange rate moved in favour of the greenback that visitor numbers jumped, from 447,000 in 2012 to an impressive 594,000 today.
Canadian visitor numbers have followed a near-identical trajectory in rising to 144,000.
New Zealand has always had a relative proximity to Australia, of course, but increased mobility has seen the number of annual short term arrivals almost triple from about half a million Kiwis a quarter of a century ago to nearly 1.5 million today.
The latest available data suggests that continued downward pressure on the Australian dollar will send total short term arrivals to beyond 7.5 million for the first time in 2016, following on from the record 7.3 million vistors in the year to October 2015, a welcome boost to the Aussie economy.
This is one of the ways in which a lower dollar can help to rebalance growth, with increasing tourist numbers combined with the gentle encouragement for more Aussies to holiday at home.