The tourism industry in Australia is going from strength to strength with the latest figures showing that spending by international and domestic visitors grew by $5.6 billion last year.
It means that spending by Australian and international tourists exceeded $100 billion for the first time.
And it is not just top spots like Sydney that are benefitting from the record spend, as the figures show that 45% of tourist spend is in regional Australia. Details show that more people are visiting from Japan and China.
Visitors are also more adventurous, moving out from previous tourism hot spots with the Northern Territory and Western Australia seeing the biggest increases in the last three years. They are also not necessarily staying in hotels with camping and caravanning seeing a big rise along with bed and breakfast and rented accommodation.
‘This record spending is creating Australian jobs. Tourism is a $120 billion industry that employs around one in 12 Australians, so this growth in holiday spending means more jobs, more investment and more prosperity for all Australians,’ said Steve Ciobo, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
Since 2013 the responsibility for domestic tourism marketing has been in the hands of individual states and territories with Tourism Australia concentrating on offshore marketing. During that time every state and territory has seen double digit growth in visitor numbers and visitor nights, with the Northern Territory the standout performer.
Indeed, it seems that the Northern Territory is the region to visit in Australia. A breakdown of the figure show that tourism spending increased over the three year period by 80% in the Northern Territory which also saw a 69% rise in visitor numbers and a 83% rise in visitor nights.
Western Australia has also proved to be popular with visitors, seeing a 41% rise in spending, a 47% rise in visitors and a 44% rise in visitor nights, but Queensland has not seen such big increases with increases of 9%, 18% and 12% respectively. New South Wales also saw more subdued growth with visitor spending up 11%, visitor numbers up 14% and visitor nights up by 12%.
For an island, Tasmania has also posted strong results over the three-year period with visitor spending up 22%, visitor numbers up 17% and visitor nights up 25%. Victoria saw respective rises of 21%, 20% and 17% while in South Australia it was 24%, 19% and 15%.
Visitors from Japan have led the growth with numbers up 24% to 382,000 and spending up 29% to $1.7 billion, followed by those from China up 17% to 1.1 million and spending of $9.2 billion, a rise of 11%.
Visitors from the UK increased by 4% to 674,000 and but spending was down 3% to $3.7 billion. US visitors increased 16% to 668,000 and spent $3.7 billion, a rise of 7% while visitors from New Zealand increased by 3% to 1.2 million with a rise in spending of 3% to $2.7 billion.
The number of nights in hotels, motels and resorts increased 11% to 28.8 million but other sectors have seen a steeper rise in demand with nights in guest houses or bed and breakfasts up 19% to 1.4 million and rented houses, apartments, flats and units seeing a rise of 2% to 98.4 million nights.
There was a steep rise in visitors staying in caravan parks and travelling with a caravan, motor home or campervan, up 47% to 1.7 million nights. And the total number of visitor nights spent in backpacker accommodation fell by 7% to 12.8 million nights which the report suggests is due to less demand from European countries.