Tourism operators and accommodation providers around Australia are delighted with new figures for the year ending December 2015, showing a continuation of very strong growth in domestic travel. They follow impressive results for international visitation over the same period.
The Australian domestic figures, deriving from the National Visitor Survey and released yesterday by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) show overnight trips up 7% to 87.1 million, nights increasing 4% to 322 million, and spend growing 6% to AUD 57.9 billion.
Day trips also increased 9% to reach 179.6 million for the year, while day spend increased by 6% to reach AUD 19 billion.
The domestic figures come on the heels of equally encouraging results for international tourism to Australia, covering the same period. TRA figures released a week or two ago show international visitors to Australia spent a record AUD 36.6 billion in the year ending December 2015 – 8% or AUD 5.5 billion more than the previous year. That was the highest percentage growth in total trip spend since 2001.
The number of international visitors aged 15 years and over reached 6.9 million, increasing by 502,000 (8%) from the previous year, and nights were up 11% to 248 million. Nine of Australia’s top 20 markets had record visitor numbers during the year.
The top five markets for visitors (New Zealand, China, Britain, USA and Singapore) accounted for 53% of all total trip spend. China alone accounted for 23% of total trip spend (compared to 7% in the year ending December 2006), which contributed to total Asia accounting for 51% of spend (compared to 38% in the year ending December 2006).
Back on the domestic front, the results confirm the increasing importance of the tourism sector to Australia’s economy. In total, tourism contributed AUD 113.5 billion in expenditure for the year ending December 2015, an increase of 10% from last year.
- Domestic overnight holiday expenditure increased6% to a record AUD 28.2 billion, accounting for 49% of all domestic overnight spend. Part of the increase in spend can be attributed to the 7% increase in overnight holiday trips to a record 34.9 million, and holidaying nights increasing by 3% to 133.3 million.
- The number of Australians holidaying overseas increasedonly 1% to 5.5 million during the year ending December 2015.
- Interstate domestic overnight trips increased by 10% to28.4 million, which marked the largest increase in interstate travel since the survey commenced in 1998. These trips are important for domestic tourism as they typically involve longer stays, visits to multiple locations, and are higher yielding in terms of spend (average trip spend of AUD 1,123 compared to AUD 443 for an intrastate trip).
- While they only account for 33% of all trips, interstate tripsare significant contributors to nights (45%, or 145 million), and to all domestic overnight spend (55%, or AUD 31.9 billion).
- Spend on overnight business trips increased 13% to AUD 15 billion and accounts for 26% of all domestic overnight spend.
- On the back of strong growth for domestic overnight holidayand business travel, the number of nights in hotels, motels and resorts increased 8% to 80.9 million. Nights in this type of accommodation account for 25% of all domestic visitor nights.
- The largest growth in percentage terms for domesticovernight trips was recorded by the Northern Territory (up 20%), Tasmania (up 17%), and the ACT (up 13%).
Edited by Peter Needham