Where are Aussies staying longer & spending more?

Womens feet dangling from a boat. Shot in the Whitsunday islands, Australia

Visitors from around Australia are staying longer and spending more in the Whitsundays, according to new figures released yesterday.

The National Visitor Statistics for the year ending March 31, 2017, showed that while the actual number of visitors to the Whitsundays was slightly down on the same period last year (by 2.9 per cent), visitor expenditure was up by 8.6 per cent for the 12 months, at $538.5 million.

The average length of stay was also up on the previous 12 months, with domestic holidaymakers staying an average 1.1 nights longer than previously, at 5.9 nights’ average per person.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said the figures were encouraging, despite overall visitor numbers being slightly down.

“In terms of the local economy and our tourism industry, it’s the amount of money that holidaymakers spend while they are here and their length of stay – which are often related – which make the difference,” he said.

“Just over one night longer per person is a significant increase and means that our overall nights for the year for holidaymakers has increased by 18.1 per cent, up to 1.8m nights per year.

“While, overall, visitors might be down slightly for the 12-month period, these are very good results for the region and augur well for the future. If holidaymakers are staying longer and spending more in the Whitsundays, that has to be a good thing!”

In total, 477,000 people visited the Whitsundays in the year ending March 31, 2017, with 254,000 of those coming from within Queensland itself and 223,000 coming from elsewhere in Australia.  And it’s a good sign the destination is on the road to recovery following the battering it copped from Cyclone Debbie.

Hayman Island’s One&Only also recently announced it would be bowing out of its operation in the Whitsundays.

Looking at the overall picture, domestic overnight trip spend increased six per cent to reach a record $61.7 billion during the year ending March 2017.

This growth occurred on the back of a three per cent increase in domestic overnight trips, reaching a record 91.7 million. Nights also increased, up four per cent on the previous year to 335.5 million. Domestic day trip spend was also on the increase, up four per cent to a record $19.6 billion, while day trips increased one per cent to reach a record 187 million.

Check out Aussies overnight spending here:

NVS march17

These results, combined with the strong growth shown in the International Visitor Survey results for the year ending March 2017, show total tourism spend at $121.2 billion. This is an overall increase of five per cent or $6.3 billion on the previous year.

Looking outbound, the number of Aussies going overseas for holidays increased by three per cent during the year ending March 2017.

Previously, holiday departures had grown 131 per cent between 2006 and 2014, but have only grown by 11 per cent since 2014.

A contributing factor has been the weakening of the Australian dollar through 2013 to 2015, which has made overseas travel less appealing.

This has been a key factor in the strong growth in domestic travel, particularly interstate, which has been partially substituted for international travel.

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