Today’s release of the National Visitor Survey for the year to Dec 2015 from Tourism Research Australia confirms that domestic tourism continues to motor ahead. Total visitors rose by 6.9% while total nights were up 4.2% and total expenditure +6.4%.
Queensland did much better than both Victoria and NSW with visitors increasing by 8.5%. However, visitor nights actually fell 0.9% and total expenditure was up just 6.0%. While the State is attracting more visitors they are staying for less time and each spending somewhat less.
No such concerns for the Tropical North where visitor numbers rose by a thumping 26.8% and total expenditure soared by 34.8%. The only cloud on the horizon was a continued fall in the average number of nights in TNQ which has fallen from 5.4 last year to 4.8 now. Nevertheless these are undoubtedly good numbers for the region and see TNQ’s share of the domestic market increase to 2.45% (from 2.07% a year ago) which, as the second chart below shows, takes it to the very top end of recent levels.
As TTNQ have noted in their press release, the total visitor expenditure in the region for the year to Dec 2015 has reached $3.3bn (which is actually slightly higher than the $3.2bn target set in their 2011-15 Strategic Plan) and puts them well on track to hit their $4.3bn target by 2020. What is interesting about that is the way in which the target has been met. The TTNQ Strategic Plan had forecast a domestic:international expenditure split of about $1.8bn:$1.4bn. What has actually happened is that the growth has come from the domestic sector with the international market disappointing. For the year to Dec 2015 the relevant domestic:international expenditure split was $2.3bn:$1.0bn. In other words their domestic target was beaten by about 28% while their international target was missed by 29%.
Under TTNQ’s current target for 2020 of $4.3bn expenditure the split is $2.3bn domestic and $2.0bn international. It is clear that while the domestic market has beaten all expectations for the region (indeed has already reached the 2020 target) there remains significant work to be done in the international sector.