Australia’s domestic tourism market is doing splendidly, with the latest figures confirming record breaking results in overnight trips, nights and expenditure in the domestic tourism market.
New National Visitor Survey figures released by Tourism Research Australia confirmed domestic tourism has continued its strong growth and recorded higher holiday and business travel spending during the year ending March 2016.
The figures show domestic overnight trip spend grew 5% to AUD 58.3 billion. The number of overnight trips increased by 8% to 88.5 million, while nights grew 5% to 327 million. The number of domestic day trips also recorded strong growth, increasing 9% to 183.2 million. Day trip spend grew 5% to reach AUD 19.3 billion.
Along with strong growth in international visitors to Australia for the same period, domestic results confirm the increasing importance of tourism to Australia’s economy. In total, tourism contributed AUD 115.5 billion in expenditure for the year ending March 2016, an increase of 8% or AUD 8.9 billion from last year.
Domestic overnight trips increased for both holiday and business travel, primarily shorter trips of one to three nights. Holiday trips increased by 9% to a record 36.1 million (up three million), and overnight holiday spend increased 4% on the previous year to AUD 28.4 billion. Overnight business trips grew 11% to 18.5 million (up 1.9 million), and spending increased 14% to AUD 15.4 billion.
On the back of strong growth for domestic overnight holiday and business travel, the number of nights in hotels, motels and resorts increased 6% to 81.1 million, accounting for 25% of all domestic visitor nights.
Welcoming the figures, the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) noted that combined with the latest International Visitor Survey results, total overnight spending in Australia’s visitor economy had reached AUD 96.2 billion (up 9%).
Pressure was building on Australia’s political parties to release their comprehensive policies for Australia’s visitor economy, the TTF said.
“The heat is on our political parties to release their economic strategies to maintain the impressive momentum we are experiencing in Australia’s visitor economy,” TTF chief executive, Margy Osmond, commented.
“Polling day should not come and go without Labor and the Coalition detailing their plans to support the visitor economy by slashing the cost of visitor visas, continuing to freeze the Passenger Movement Charge, investing in visitor infrastructure and boosting funding for destination marketing, to name a few of the areas in which we need to see action.
“Tourism is supporting close to one million jobs in our economy and as we see, month after month, with new records for domestic and international visitor spending being set, there is tremendous potential for the sector to be a jobs and wealth generating juggernaut for Australia with the right economic strategy.”
Osmond said that all of Australia’s states and territories recorded increases in overnight domestic visitors with the Northern Territory (37%), Western Australia (13%) and Australian Capital Territory (13%) performing the strongest.
“Tourism continues to be the ray of sunshine during a difficult transition from the end of the mining boom to a diversified services-based economy. Our message to Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten is why not back the industry with a positive plan that allows it to reach its full potential?”
Edited by Peter Needham