The Tourism Research Australia National Visitor Survey for the year to Sept 2015 saw the total number of domestic visitors jump by 7% to 85.3 million. Those travelling to Queensland were stronger still, up 7.9% to 19.8 million (which saw the Sunshine State’s share of the domestic market improve slightly to 23.2%). But it was in the Tropical North that the really great news came; visitors to the TNQ region jumped a massive 19.4% to just over 2 million and took the region’s share of the domestic market to 2.4%; its highest level in 6 years.
The numbers, although undoubtedly good news for the region, weren’t all rosy. Average nights per visitor fell from 5.4 to 4.9 which saw average expenditure per visitor fall 1.4% to $1,041 (allowing for inflation of about 2% this equates to approximately a 3.5% real decline). Nevertheless, the average spend per night jumped strongly to $215 (up 9.7%). In a nutshell, the region is getting a lot more domestic visitors, they are each spending significantly more per night, but staying less time and therefore each spending rather less. All up the sum of domestic visitor expenditure in the region jumped 17.7% to just over $2.1 billion (another new record).
Combined with the improving international data for the region (see our comments from last week), it is clear that tourism in general to TNQ is seeing much better days than for some time. In particular the domestic market is the stand-out for the region; this despite the TTNQ Strategic Plan targeting international growth. The split between domestic and international has been (and now looks set to continue) moving more towards the domestic market than TTNQ had expected in spite of the declines in the A$.