Yesterday saw the release of Tourism Research Australia’s National Visitor Survey for the June quarter; and the numbers make good reading for those of us in the Far North.
Total overnight domestic trips in Australia were up 5.2% to 83.2m while QLD saw growth of 5.6% to 19.1m. However, in TNQ we saw a jump of 10.6% to a new record of 1.8m. This now represents 2.16% of the total domestic overnight market and is the highest share the region has enjoyed since Sept 2013. As the chart below shows, the percentage of domestic visitors to the region has been stuck in a range around 2-2.2% for almost 4 years; indeed in the past decade it has rarely exceeded 2.2%.
When we include domestic day trips (which accounted for another 2.3m trips and $251m expenditure) we see that regional expenditure from domestic tourism has come in at $2.087bn for the year to June. We also have the international data for June and we saw expenditure there of $1bn (see here for full commentary from a few weeks ago). The region’s tourism expenditure therefore for the year to June 2015 was $3.087bn against a TTNQ target of $3.2bn by the end of the year; this requires just a 3.7% increase over the rest of this year and looks entirely achievable.
However, as we noted last week (see here), the split between domestic and international expenditures has gone in the reverse direction to that projected by TTNQ and these latest numbers simply exacerbate that trend. For the year to June 2015 domestic expenditure accounted for 67.6% while international was the remaining 32.4%. This is in stark comparison to the TTNQ target of 57%/43% as outlined in their Strategic Plan. TTNQ will be very happy with these latest numbers and it certainly looks like they will reach their 2015 target, but it is clear that this success has come primarily on the back of strong domestic visitor numbers. International growth has been strong of late but recent improvements have not been sufficient to make up for poor performance in previous years.