Visitors are taking shorter trips to Australia but spending more, new data shows.
Visitors are taking shorter trips to Australia but spending more, new data shows.

International visitors spent a record $44.6 billion during their travels to Australia in the 2018/19 financial year, according to new data released today from Tourism Research Australia.

According to the International Visitor Survey for the period ending June 2019, the figure represented a five per cent jump on the corresponding period a year earlier. In all, Australia welcomed 8.6 million foreign visitors (aged 15 and over) who collectively tallied up 273 million bed nights over the period, marking increases of three and one per cent respectively.

On a domestic level for the same period, Australian travellers spent $77.5 billion over the financial year across 113.3 million overnight trips – increases of 15% and 12% respectively – taking Australia’s total financial year revenue for 2018/19 to $122.1 billion. The result is a $5.5 billion increase on the $116.6 billion recorded for the full calendar year ending December 2018.

Despite the increased spend by international visitors, average length of stay continues to decline, which has fallen steadily over the last six years and now sits at a still-impressive 32 nights. In this same period, average spend has grown from $129 to $163 – a 26% increase.

Food, drink and accommodation continued to lead the way in terms of what international visitors spent their money on, with these expenses making up $13.4 billion of the overall amount. This was followed by international airfares, which climbed eight per cent to $6.8 billion.

Fastest growing international markets were led by India (+53%) and followed by Canada and Indonesia (both +32%) and Japan (+27%). Holiday travel was the primary reason for visiting among three of these four markets, with VFR the primary reason among arrivals from India.

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said state agency Destination NSW was making solid progress on its 2030 visitor economy targets.

“These latest surveys show unprecedented growth for NSW, with domestic overnight visitors spending $22.6 billion in the state – an increase of 13 per cent year on year.”

Among holidaymakers, Western Australia continued its run of strong results, with Australian Hotels Association CEO, Bradley Woods, saying he was particularly pleased to see such strong growth among his home state.

“When it comes to holiday visitation – whether interstate, international, the number of nights they stay or the amount they spend – there has been double-digit growth across the board, including a 16.5 per cent increase in the number of overnight holiday visitors to WA.”