An article in today’s Cairns Post talking about how a lower A$ was helping to boost Australian tourism (both international and domestic) spurred me to take a quick look at how tourism in the Tropical North was tracking against the goals outlined in TTNQ’s 2011-2015 Strategic Plan.
The Plan targets Visitor Expenditure in the TNQ region to grow from $2.2bn for the year to Dec 2010 to $3.2bn by the end of 2015. At this stage we only have complete data available up to the end of the March quarter (international data to June but domestic only to March so far) and it seems to be doing well against that target.
Expenditure for domestic tourism was $1.984 bn ($1.744 bn from overnight and $240 m from day trips) while international was $963 m. This gives us a total of $2.947 bn for the year to March 2015. That requires just a 8.6% increase over the final 9 months, which at current growth rates looks possible (international expenditure for the year to June was up at $1bn for a 3.8% increase in that quarter).
However, where things start to look very interesting is when we consider the domestic/international split. In the Strategic Plan TTNQ are targeting the split to shift from 64% domestic, 36% international in 2010 to 57% domestic and 43% international by the end of this year. The Plans says “Although in meeting our goals we have the potential to grow our visitor expenditure by $1B, the significant contributor to this will be international visitor expenditure“. At this stage that shift has actually been going in the other direction. As at March 2015 domestic expenditure accounted for 67% while international only came in at 33%.
Whilst the total expenditure goal is within reach it’s been made possible by increases in the domestic market rather more than the international. The shift towards international expenditure that TTNQ were targeting just hasn’t happened.
Were the TTNQ goals to be reached by the end of this year the total $3.2 bn would come from $1.82 bn domestic and $1.38 bn international. As it is we are likely to see the total made up by about $2.1 bn domestic (15% over target) and $1.1 bn international (20% below target).