August tourism data reveals regional Australia fared better than capital cities

A hotel on Middleton Street in Mckinlay, Queensland, where famous scenes of Crocodile Dundee (stylized as

Australia’s regional destinations performed better than capital cities in terms of tourism spending and visitor numbers in August, new figures have revealed.

Tourism Research Australia’s (TRA’s) National Visitor Survey Monthly Snapshot for August 2020 found that domestic overnight trip spending in Sydney dropped 85 per cent (from August 2019), compared to 28 per cent in regional New South Wales.

Spending in Brisbane and the Gold Coast also fell 49 per cent, compared to six per cent for regional Queensland.

The latest figures also revealed that regional areas recorded increased numbers of domestic overnight visitors during August, including South Australia (up six per cent), Western Australia (up four per cent) and Queensland (up three per cent).

TRA noted there was a softening in the number of visitors and spend in NSW in August 2020 (down 38 per cent and 51 per cent respectively).

This was due to a deterioration in interstate travel from Victoria and Queensland that, unlike some other states, was not offset by an increase in intrastate travel, according to TRA.

Overall, overnight trips fell 40 per cent to 5.2 million in August. Spending fell further, down 53 per cent to $3 billion (a loss of $3.3 billion compared to August 2019).

TRA said the larger decline in spending can be attributed to large losses in higher-value interstate travel, which was due to border closures and the limited capacity to participate in various activities due to social distancing rules.

In the 2020 calendar year to August, domestic visitation across Australia fell 42 per cent and visitor spend a dramatic 47 per cent, reflecting the massive impact of the COVID pandemic and bushfire crisis.

Simon Westaway, executive director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC), said with the nation proving its collective suppression of the virus, remaining state and territory border blockages simply needed to be timetabled to lift.

“The impact of COVID-19 and the earlier bushfire crisis have delivered terrible domestic visitor spend and travel activity outcomes this year, and recovery won’t be easy,” he said.

“The latest domestic tourism numbers cannot be sugar-coated and reflect the serious state of our industry, yet one now admirably trying to recover and sustainably rebuild in a COVID safe way.

“Fully re-opening all state and territory borders to all Australians is the number one, immediate priority for our tourism regions, and will best support tens of thousands of businesses and jobs.”

Westaway said a new national tourism and visitor economy strategy and plan, beyond the completed Tourism2020, also must now be expedited, including a sharp focus on sustainable recovery.

“ATIC calls for the re-boot of activity for a new tourism plan, Tourism2030 – one that incorporates immediate actions to help best position Australian tourism within the new COVID economy,” he said.

Featured image source: iStock/vdvornyk

Latest News

  • Aviation

Senior management at Air India expected to keep jobs after Vistara merger

The Tata group is likely to retain the senior management of full-service airline Air India after its merger with Vistara, according to an Economic Times report. The report said Campbell Wilson will continue as CEO of Air India, while Nipun Aggarwal be chief commercial and transformation officer of the merged entity, while Sanjay Sharma will […]

  • Food & Beverage

PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport launches Asian-Australian fusion menu

The newly refurbished PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport unveils a new Asian-Australian fusion menu for the onsite all-day dining Airo Restaurant. The menu debuts alongside the restaurant’s refurbishment and offers travellers a delicious selection while enjoying comfortable and stylish surroundings. It was created by PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport’s executive chef Jee Whan Lee with the goal of bringing […]

  • Cruise

HX names Alex McNeil as inaugural chief expedition officer

HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) has announced that Alex McNeil will take on the newly created position of Chief Expedition Officer (CXO). This new C-suite role underscores HX’s commitment to immersive adventure travel, enhancing its legacy of almost 130 years in expeditions. As CXO, McNeil will oversee all aspects of HX’s global itinerary and expedition experience. His […]

  • Aviation
  • Technology

SITA wins Heathrow Airport’s confidence with contract extension for network infrastructure solutions

Global leader in air transport technology, SITA, signed a five-year extension with Heathrow Airport to support its vast and growing network infrastructure. The agreement sees SITA providing a wide range of network, telecommunications, and connectivity services, while introducing innovative new solutions to business operating within Heathrow. SITA has built a strong relationship with Heathrow since […]

  • Destinations
  • Events
  • Exhibitions

South Eveleigh announces winter series for August

Australia’s premier technology precinct, South Eveleigh, celebrates winter with a month-long series of community-focused and immersive experiences from 5 to 31 August 2024. The winter series programs aim to fuse entertainment, technology, education, food and beverage, and social responsibility. Portfolio manager for Mirvac, Jamie Toko, said the engaging four-week series will showcase South Eveleigh as […]

  • Events

Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street partners with Royal Botanic Gardens’ Lightscape show

The Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street has announced a partnership with the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and its dazzling light show, Lightscape. The partnership looks to take guests to experience the light, nature, and wonder of the stunning display with a special hotel package. Lightscape promises to transform the Botanic Gardens after dark with […]

  • Hotels

The Rox Hobart offers premier venue for chic and intimate wedding celebrations

Known for providing boutique accommodations that offer a uniquely Tasmanian immersion, The Rox invites couples to experience its intimate charm for small wedding celebrations. The Rox Penthouse boasts 211sqm of self-contained opulence that features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and can accommodate up to six guests. It also has indoor and outdoor spaces, including a rooftop […]

  • Travel Agents

New class of emerging leaders starts ATEC’s 2024 ELITE program

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has launched its 8th Emerging Leaders of Inbound Tourism Excellence (ELITE) program, the latest round to begin a journey to join more than 170 graduates. This year’s cohort of 30 comes from across all states and territories and represents the largest group since the program’s inception in 2015. “ATEC […]