NSW has beaten its state and territory counterparts to secure the number one position as preferred Australian destination for international youth travellers with over 1.1 million of them arriving in NSW during the year ending December 2015.
According to Destination NSW’s International Youth Travel snapshot, NSW is the most popular state, having received 56.9% of the total international youth visitor market, and injecting $4.8 billion into the NSW economy (up 19.3%).
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the research highlighted the value of youth travellers to NSW’s visitor economy.
“The 15-29 year old market represents over a third of the total number of international visitors to the state, up by 6.8% on last year. We expect this market to further grow as a result of our continued efforts to attract young travellers to Sydney and Regional NSW from major source markets including China, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, said Mr Ayres.”
“With these visitors currently staying an average of 42.6 nights in the state, and spending more than $4,200 per trip, the youth travel sector continues to be a lucrative market for NSW hotels, restaurants and world class attractions, further boosting the State’s financial and visitor economy,” he said.
Destination NSW Chief Executive Office, Sandra Chipchase said that youth travellers seek adventure, immersive experiences and exciting city-based and regional events.
“Millennial travellers are true wanderers with many global destination options to choose from. We know they value adventure, affordability and unique travel experiences when selecting a destination – NSW ticks all the boxes”, said Ms Chipchase.
Students enjoying a sunny day at Bondi Beach during Festival of the Winds 2015, Sydney.
“It’s no surprise that 44% of youth travellers to the state each year are repeat visitors,” she said.
The research further revealed over two thirds (62.1%) of youth visitors come to NSW for a holiday, followed by 20.4% who visit family and friends. Education is also a key driver of youth visitors with 12.7% coming here for education purposes.
For the holiday-makers, enjoying NSW’s restaurant and bar culture, shopping, visiting NSW’s famous beaches, sightseeing and taking in national parks were uncovered as the most popular activities for visitors to do.
“Many youth visitors arrive in NSW with a basic itinerary planned, booking additional experiences and planning to visit destinations within the State as they begin their tour. Both Sydney and regional NSW benefit from this growing visitor economy,” said Ms Chipchase.
For youth travellers seeking adventure and transformative experiences, Destination NSW has highlighted some of the State’s many unique experiences to include in their itinerary:
Get beached in Bondi
A visit to Sydney isn’t complete without a visit to the famed Bondi Beach. Take a dip between the flags, learn to surf, relax on the sand, stroll the promenade or have a coffee at one of the many beach-lined cafes.
Camp under the stars
The Royal National Park south of Sydney ticks all the boxes when choosing a NSW camping destination. The second largest national park in the world, it is renowned for its stunning coastal views, beaches, natural habitat and outdoor activities. The Bonnie Vale campground is a great spot to pitch up with plenty of space to explore, take in a spot of fishing, hiking or kayaking. Come nightfall, experience the beauty of the clear evening sky as you lay back and count stars.
Walk, run or climb the Bridge
Nothing is more uniquely Sydney than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Whether you’re keen to climb the summit and experience 360 degree views over the whole city, or take a leisurely walk or run across it, the experience is one not to be missed.
Get out of town
Just beyond Sydney is an array of day-trip destinations right at your fingertips. Discover the beautiful Blue Mountains, the gourmet offerings of the Hunter Valley or the stunning South Coast beaches. All three destinations are suitable for self-drivers who might want to consider hiring a car and exploring all of the wonderful sights and small towns along the way, at their own pace.
Meet the animals
One of Sydney’s most famous attractions, the award-winning Taronga Zoo is right on the city’s doorstep and is home to over 4,000 animals, including NSW natives the Koala and the Bilby. Wander at your own pace or book a one-on-one animal encounter while overlooking the magnificent Sydney Harbour. Taronga Zoo is just 12 minutes from the city by ferry.
Take a legendary drive
Heading north from Sydney along the Pacific Ocean coastline, the Legendary Pacific Drive is a scenic self-drive experience that takes you through some of the most striking landscapes in NSW.
An almost continuous line of surf beaches, national parks and a hinterland of rolling green hills and friendly villages make this a great experience. There are plenty of attractions, good accommodation choices along the way with limited pre-planning required!
See the magic of Vivid Sydney
The largest festival of light, music and ideas in the world takes place May 27 – June 18. The program features large scale light installations and projections (Vivid Light); music performances and collaborations (Vivid Music including Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House); and creative ideas, discussion and debate (Vivid Ideas). The great thing… Vivid Light is free to attend.
Get a culture injection
Sydney has a flourishing culture scene with openings, shows and exhibitions all year round. From private, niche galleries to major museums including the Powerhouse Museum and the Art Gallery of NSW, grab a museum pass and explore them all!
Be one with nature
NSW is home to many beautiful national parks and the Nightcap National Park on the far north-eastern coast of NSW is one to visit. The World Heritage-listed Park is home to the Protestor Falls walking track which leads through magnificent rainforests and is an ideal short walk for nature lovers. Listen out for the call of the rose-crowned fruit dove and the barred cuckoo-shrike. You might even see a pademelon darting through the bush. Once you have worked up an appetite, enjoy a leisurely lunch at Terania Creek picnic area.
Have a whale of a time
NSW is lucky enough to be one of the coastal hot spots for wales as they make their annual migration, with Byron Bay on the north coast a prime viewing point. Visit between the months of May and September to make the most of Byron Bay’s fantastic vantage points and watch whales cruise through the water. Get up close by heading out on a whale watching tour with local guides for a memorable experience like no other.
Find a unique home away from home at a NSW Farm Stay
Feed the animals, collect the eggs, milk the cows and gain an authentic farm stay in NSW among stunning rural scenery. From petting sheep to beekeeping courses, or fishing in nearby creeks and planting crops, there are an array of active experiences to be had with properties located in country NSW, the Hunter and along the North and South Coast. From historic homesteads to self-contained cabins there are a range of accommodation options to suit youth travellers looking for a rural escape.
Get festive at one of NSW’s many festivals
NSW is a festival goers dream with rolling countryside and picturesque river locations host to major and bespoke music and arts festivals throughout the year. Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast hosts Australia’s premier blues and roots festival annually over Easter attracting the world’s best blues, roots, folk, soul and world artists. In July Splendour in the Grass festival creates its own community for a weekend in the Byron Bay hinterland with 2016 headliners including The Strokes, The Cure, and Flume. Other festival highlights across NSW include Vanfest in Forbes, and the iconic Parkes Elvis Festival which celebrates the life and music of Elvis Presley.