International Visitor Survey shows TNQ continues to underperform

The release this morning by Tourism Research Australia of the March 2019 International Visitor Survey (see here for full details) once again shows the TNQ region underperforming as the tourism boom across the nation continues apace,

International visitor numbers to Australia grew by 2.7% for the year to March 2019 with regional expenditures up 5.8%. China remains the country’s largest market, visitor numbers grew 2.6%. However, more recent data on short term arrivals suggests that growth trend may have stalled and reversed in more recent months (see here for details).

Queensland visitor numbers fared less well and were down 0.3% (the worst of the 3 major states, with Victoria up 5.0%). However, a shift to higher spending tourists appears to be underway with expenditure in Queensland up a very healthy 8.6% (the best of the the 3 major states).

Tropical North Queensland continues to underperform. Visitor numbers fell by 3.1%, although the shift towards higher spending guests also seems to be playing out here with regional expenditure up 2.8%. While this a welcome increase it is far below both national and state figures and, when adjusted for even very weak inflation, is barely a 1% improvement.

This underperformance sees TNQ’s share of the Australia international visitor market fall below 10% for the first time.

When we consider the breakdown of TNQ’s visitor data we see the USA as the only bright star on the horizon. Japanese visitor numbers were unchanged, China lifted just 0.7% (less than a third of the national rate of increase) and the UK saw another sharp decline down 10.4%. Visitors from the UK to TNQ have now fallen to their lowest level since Dec 2012 and are down 37.5% over the past decade. Visitor numbers from the USA were up 7.5% and now sit at a record high of 115,700 for the year.

Over recent quarters the domestic visitor data has been TNQ’s saving grace (see here). The National Visitor Survey for March is due for release in a fortnight.

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