The latest Tourism Australia Research (TRA) forecast highlights the positive influence that the low dollar value is having on increasing domestic tourism and inbound travel, particularly from Asian markets.
International visitors are expected to grow by 5.6% per annum to reach 12.3 million visitors by 2024-25, with China overtaking New Zealand as Australia’s largest international tourism market by 2017. This is two years earlier than expected and with the move towards free independent travel in this market, the caravanning and camping sector is well positioned to become a preferred travel choice. In terms of visitor numbers, China will contribute 46% of total growth by 2024 and 60% in terms of expenditure.
As the fastest growing commercial accommodation type outside of private rental accommodation, caravanning and camping is expected to grow at a greater rate than other accommodation types for domestic travel. This is on top of forecasted increases for all domestic travel, which have been revised up for 2016-2017 and are expected to grow by 3.1% per annum over the next ten years. This represents a total 423 million visitor nights by 2024-25, which bodes well for regional centres and local economies.
Also favouring the sector are low fuel prices and historically low interest rates, which are encouraging domestic consumer discretionary expenditure especially when coupled with the declining value of the dollar. Road tripping around Australia is seeing a strong revival.
“We are witnessing a new and robust era in domestic tourism that has the potential to introduce new consumers to the caravan and camping experience. There is also a reconnect with existing markets who in the past, may have holidayed internationally,” says Stuart Lamont, CEO of Caravan Industry association of Australia.
TRA have indicated concerns over uncertain economic conditions created by the fallout from Brexit and unstable EU monetary policies, suggesting this may lead to a decrease in European visitors to Australia. However, any fluctuations in the Euro may encourage more Australians to travel at home and provides further opportunities for domestic tourism and the caravan and camping sector.