We’ve been away from the office for almost three weeks over Christmas and the New Year, so now is the time to start to catch up on the regional data released since we left; and we’re staring with the National Visitor Survey for the September quarter released by Tourism Research Australia on Dec 20th (and available for download here).
We’ve been discussing the weakness in the domestic market in the TNQ region for some time and this most recent release does nothing to mitigate against that. While total domestic overnight visitors rose by 7.2% (for the year to Sept) in Australia as a whole, and by 9.7% in QLD, they fell by 2.8% in the Far North. Overnight expenditure also rose by about 7% nationally, and 6% in QLD, but fell by 2% in our region. The average length of stay in TNQ rose very slightly to 5.03 nights.
The less significant day-tripper market also showed weakness with a 1% rise on QLD compared to a 7% fall in TNQ (and a 10.7% drop in day-trip expenditure).
All up domestic expenditure in the TNQ region fell by 3% for the year (bear in kind these are nominal figures and do not take account of inflation which pushes the real decline close to 5%). As we noted just before we went away (see here), the international market is seeing growth but only at a level well below that witnessed elsewhere in the nation. Combining both domestic (overnight and day-trip) and international expenditure we see a decline in tourism expenditure in our region of 2.5% over the course of the year. Given the nation is in the grip of a tourism “boom” that fact should be causing some red-faces at TTNQ and a good deal of re-thinking within the tourism industry.