Figures from the Australian Government’s National Visitor Survey released on June 15 show Australia’s domestic tourism market is holding strong for both the March quarter and the year ending March 2010 despite challenges from a competitive international market.

Travellers in Ceduna

Commenting on the figures, Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson said positive growth in the March 2010 quarter for visitor expenditure and day trip visitors, and a recovery in business travel.

“Domestic tourism is the industry’s bread and butter, it accounts for almost three quarters of Australia’s tourism consumption so it is encouraging to see continuing solid performance,” Ferguson said.

“A boost in business travel is good news. Business travellers are big spenders – this sector is especially important for hotels, airlines, taxis, restaurants, convention centres and many other tourism businesses.

“The strong Australian dollar, increasing airline competition, and the lure of nearby international destinations present ongoing challenges to our domestic industry.

“Industry has succeeded in competing for the discretionary dollar of day trip visitors and now has to rise to the challenge of encouraging visitors to stay overnight,” he said.

For the March quarter 2010 overnight trips and visitor nights remained constant. Visitor expenditure rose by 4% to $11.5 billion and day trip visitors increased by 8%. Victoria (up 4%), Tasmania (up 8%), Northern Territory (up 3%) and the ACT (up 32%) all experienced a strong March quarter in terms of visitor nights, while New South Wales (down 1%), South Australia (down 12%) and Western Australia (down 8%) experienced declines and Queensland visitor nights remained steady for the quarter.

For the twelve months to March 2010, visitor nights declined nationally by 1%, overnight trips were down 3%, and visitor expenditure remained steady at $42.9 billion while day trip visitors increased 9% to 147.5 million day trips.