Domestic tourism spending surges and international recovery in sight

Never-before-released data shows Australians are spending more on tourism domestically than before Covid and mainly in their own state, while spending by international visitors is on the rise.

Australians are now spending more on domestic tourism than they were before the pandemic with $10.1 billion flowing into the industry in October, in an encouraging sign for tourism, transport and aviation.

That’s according to new monthly tourism reporting from Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) Australia released for the first time – the Hemisphere Digital TRiiiPSTM spend predictor – enabled by Visa.

From today, spending by domestic and international tourists in Australia will be published monthly, revealing the most up-to-date tourism reporting of its kind ever released in Australia.

The latest national domestic tourism spend for October is a 9% increase on pre-Covid levels, compared with October 2019, with the highest amount spent in QLD ($2.7 billion) followed by NSW ($2.1 billion).

November’s national forecast for domestic tourism spending is $9.3 billion, which would also be 9% higher than pre-Covid levels, compared with November 2019.

The data shows the greatest spend in October was from Australians travelling within their own state, with intrastate domestic travel 14% above pre-Covid levels at $6.2 billion.

The top 10 locations where Australians are spending the most on tourism nationally are:

  1. Melbourne (VIC)
  2. Sydney (NSW)
  3. Brisbane (QLD)
  4. Perth (WA)
  5. Gold Coast (QLD)
  6. North Coast (NSW)
  7. Sunshine Coast (QLD)
  8. South Coast (NSW)
  9. Adelaide (SA)
  10. Tropical North Queensland (QLD)

TTF CEO Margy Osmond welcomed the figures, saying it’s pleasing the industry is on the path to recovery.

“The appetite for domestic travel is overwhelming. More Australians are choosing to holiday here than overseas and we expect that to continue over the peak summer holiday period,” Ms Osmond said.

“We’re also seeing more Australians holidaying in their own state. By exploring their own backyard, they’re saving money and taking advantage of Australia’s spectacular natural beauty.”

Spending by international visitors in Australia in October is still 16% below pre-Covid levels at $2.3 billion, and this is forecast to lift to $2.5 billion in November, which remains 16% pre-Covid levels compared with November 2019.

However, spending by international visitors has improved from the $1.9 billion in September, which was 19% below pre-Covid levels.

The fastest recovery in spending by international visitors has been in the ACT (only 1% below pre-Covid levels for October), WA (only 2% below pre-Covid levels for October) and the Northern Territory (4% below pre-Covid levels for October).

“Inbound international tourism is still behind levels seen before the pandemic but we expect things will pick up over summer, as more overseas visitors take advantage of Australia’s warmer months,” Ms Osmond said.

“We expect spending by international visitors will lift further throughout next year, as airline capacity increases and international confidence in Australia as an attractive holiday destination returns.”