Domestic travel, tourism rise to pre-GFC levels: report
15/06/2012 - Australians travelling domestically for business and to visit their friends and relatives are contributing to the best overall domestic tourism figures in four years, according to a new report.
The recently released report, Travel by Australians March Quarter 2012, shows overnight trips were up five per cent to 73 million in the year ending March 2012, nights stayed increased by six per cent to 279 million, and total expenditure jumped ten per cent to $50 billion.
The Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, said the figures are a positive sign that Australia's $73.3 billion tourism industry is recovering from last year's natural disasters.
"The fact we are now seeing results reach pre-GFC levels for domestic travel is excellent news for Australia's tourism industry, particularly since the high Australian dollar continues to make international travel attractive for Australians," Ferguson said.
"The growth we have seen in domestic overnight travel was underpinned by an increase in people travelling to visit friends and relatives. These trips were up nine per cent to 25 million, which lead to a 16 per cent increase in expenditure, taking it to $10 billion for the year ending March 2012.
"Queensland in particular has registered good growth with overnight trips increasing ten per cent and expenditure growing 17 per cent to reach $11 billion signifying a rebound from last year's natural disasters and efforts by government and industry to get tourism back on its feet.
"Increasing domestic tourism is part of the focus of the industry's Tourism 2020 strategy. Domestic tourism directly contributes $25.1 billion to Australia's GDP. It is not only the backbone of Australia's tourism industry, it is particularly important for regional areas where tourism is a great source of local employment.
"Since 2011, the government has invested over $16 million in T-QUAL Grants to increase the supply of quality tourism attractions and experiences in Australia. In addition to this $5 million is being spent domestically as part of the There's Nothing Like Australia campaign including the new broadcast advertisements currently screening across the country."
The strong Australian economy contributed to significant growth in business travel with trips up ten per cent to 14 million, and expenditure increasing 24 per cent to $12 billion. Western Australia, in particular, benefited from mining industry-related travel achieving the biggest increase in overnight trips which were up by 13 per cent.
Overnight travel for holidays also increased with trips and expenditure up two per cent to $25.6 billion making up just over half of all domestic overnight travel expenditure.
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