Visitors flock to regional Australia

Overseas and local travellers are getting off the beaten track and exploring regional destinations, according to the latest visitor surveys.

The latest International and National Visitor Surveys are in, revealing positive growth for Australia’s visitor economy and big wins for regional tourism.

Of the 8.4 million international travellers to our shores in the year ending September 2018, more than 2.8 million chose to travel beyond Australia’s capital cities.

Similarly, domestic travellers are discovering the regions, with the National Visitor Survey showing a 10 per cent increase in regional spend.


According to the new data, international visitors were up 6 per cent to 8.4 million, while international visitor spend reached $43.2 billion (up 5 per cent).

China continues to lead the growth, with visitor numbers up 8 per cent to 1.3 million and spend up 12 per cent to $11.5 billion.

Visitor numbers increased from New Zealand, the US and the UK to 1.3 million, 736,000 and 699,000, respectively.

Regional visitation increased by 4 per cent to 2.84 million in regional destinations, while nights fell 6 per cent to 49.6 million, reflecting weaker growth in duration of stay in Australia during the year.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the growth in regional visitation was encouraging to see.

“Australia’s tourism industry continues to see strong growth and our regions are starting to reap the benefits,” he said.

”This is great news for regional towns around Australia and it’s also terrific to see travellers moving off the beaten track.”


Domestic overnight travel reached a record 102.7 million for the year ending September 2018 (up 7 per cent) and visitor spend increased by 10 per cent to a record $70.3 billion.

Domestic day visitors totalled 204.6 million (up 7 per cent) and spend reached $22 billion (up 8 per cent).

Regional spend also showed strong growth, up 10 per cent to reach $36.2 billion for the year.

“More and more Australians are turning to nature for their holidays, whether it be kayaking near Cradle Mountain in Tassie, cycling in the Blue Mountains in NSW or bushwalking in the Bungle Bungle Range in WA,” said Minister Birmingham.


Among the top achievers for the year are New South Wales, which welcomed 33.6 million domestic overnight visitors for the year (up 8.4 per cent), Western Australia with 10.6 million domestic visitors (up 9.9 per cent) and Tasmania with 3 million visitors (up 10.6 per cent).

South Australia showed strong growth with a 7.3 per cent increase in domestic overnight visitors to 6.6 million, while Victoria saw a 6.8 per cent increase to 25.6 million.

Queensland’s domestic overnight visitors rose 3.1 per cent to 22.8 million, the Australian Capital Territory welcomed 2.8 million (up 3.1 per cent) and the Northern Territory welcomed 1.5 million (down 0.4 per cent).

Minister Birmingham welcomed the strong national results, saying they will only help create more jobs in tourism.

“More Aussies holidaying in our own backyard teamed with this record spending is a great boost for Australian businesses and helps contribute to a stronger economy,” he said.

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