The December quarter 2014 National Visitor Survey from Tourism Research Australia (available here) shows overnight domestic visitor numbers were up 7.4% nationally to 81.436 million for the year to Dec 2014. The increase was led by Victoria where visitor numbers were up 11%. Total expenditure rose 5.7%. However, the result for Queensland was not so good (as has been the case for many quarters) with total numbers up 5.6% to 18.6 million. This slower growth in visitor numbers is compounded by a decline of 0.9% in total regional expenditure (the only State to have seen a decline). QLD’s share of the domestic overnight visitor market has now fallen to an all-time low of just 22.78%; a 0.4% decline from a year ago.
In TNQ the story gets worse. Although visitor numbers were up 5.7% (marginally better than the QLD average, but well below the national rate), average visitor expenditure fell by 8.1% over the course of the year. Bear in mind that these are nominal expenditure figures and do not therefore account for inflation. The real fall in average visitor expenditure is therefore close to 10%. Total expenditure rose just 1.3%.
This data should focus the minds at TEQ, and more particularly TTNQ, but we fear that we are far more likely to see a positive spin put on the numbers than any acknowledgement that tourism promotion in QLD (and especially the Far North) has been a disaster for some time now.
Note: The Dec quarter International Visitor Survey, which was originally slated for publication last Weds, has been delayed due to problems with OAD data from the ABS (see here for more info). Tourism Research Australia, in response to a query from us, have informed us that the IVS will be “delayed until June/July”.
Update: The positive spin we anticipated from TEQ has already started. Their “Domestic Tourism Snapshot” quotes expenditure in QLD as “relatively stable in the year”. This despite a 0.9% nominal decrease (at least 2.6% real decline) in QLD compared with a 5.7% nominal increase nationally.