Staying with friends and relatives continues to be the dominant form of lodging for domestic travellers.

Holiday and business travel is booming in most parts of Australia, with nights in hotels, motels and resorts up 8% to a record high of 94 million nights, according to new National Visitor Survey data for the year ending 30 September 2018.

The mid-year holiday boom also impacted positively on caravan parks and campgrounds, which saw a 9% spike to 54.8 million. Rented apartments including short-term letting was also up 11% to 32.4 million nights, the Tourism Research Australia (TRA) data showed.

Hotels and more established forms of accommodation made up the lion’s share of commercial options, claiming 26% of all travellers and lagging only behind VFR (Visiting Friends & Relatives) in overall rankings, with 35% opting to stay at the home of a friend or family member.

Broken down by state, NSW saw the greatest jump in traveller spend, skyrocketing 13% to bring in $20.4 billion for the 12-month period to September. The state led the way over all other states and territories, which together added up to a national spend of $70.3 billion. Spending was strong among domestic travellers in Australia’s regional areas, with a 10% climb reported to take spending outside capital cities to $36.2 billion for the year.

Visitor numbers from overseas were also up, however top markets are taking shorter holidays.

Tasmania and Western Australia led the way in terms of overall visitor numbers, posting growth of 11% and 10% respectively. The Apple Isle cracked the three million barrier, while WA saw a solid 10.6 million visitors for the timeframe.

Also out today came figures from TRA covering international visitors to Australia for the same period. Visitor numbers were slightly more subdued, however growth was recorded across all three major metrics of visitor numbers, nights spent and amount spent.

In all, Australia welcomed 8.4 million overseas visitors for the year ending September 2018, who collectively stayed 271 million nights and pumping $43.2 billion into state and territory economies.

Australia’s Top 5 markets all recorded growth, with China climbing 8% and New Zealand, USA, UK all posting 3% gains. Japan posted a 6% improvement, however the latter four markets all stayed for shorter periods of time in Australia than the same time last year. India was the fastest growing foreign market, up 20% to 324,000 arrivals.