The emphasis placed by Federal, State and Local governments on creating and encouraging events is paying off, says Tourism Accommodation Australia.
The latest National Visitor Survey statistics released by Tourism Research Australia saw domestic tourism reach new record levels, with domestic overnight travel increasing 7% in the year to the end of 2014 (compared with 2013) to reach 81.4 million. Total visitor nights increased 9% to 309 million, while domestic overnight spend recorded 6% growth to reach a record high of $54.4 billion.
Acting CEO of Tourism Accommodation Australia, Carol Giuseppi, said that the figures clearly demonstrated the importance of Governments and regional tourism groups promoting events and festivals, with overnight trips to attend festivals, fairs or cultural events increasing by 21% to 2.9 million in 2014.
“It is very encouraging that Federal, State and regional authorities are investing in creating, encouraging and attracting major events and festivals,” said Ms Giuseppi.
“This is particularly important in regional Australia, where some areas have had to address reductions in mining and manufacturing. Investing in tourism infrastructure and marketing can produce significant long-term returns that have multiplier effects for the whole economy.”
Ms Giuseppi said that while the overall NVS figures were very encouraging, a fall of 1% in domestic overnight holiday travel was concerning, especially when contrasted against a 6% increase in overseas holidays in 2014.
“The fall in the Australian dollar is still to have a major impact on Australian domestic holiday travel, according to the NVS statistics, but with a corresponding fall in fuel prices, the prospects for domestic holiday growth in 2015 and beyond are the best in many years,” said Ms Giuseppi.
“Australian destinations now need to ensure they have the attractions, events and facilities to attract holiday travelers who have had considerable exposure to international destinations over the past decade and will be looking for quality, value-oriented holiday options within Australia.
“Fortunately, Australia is undergoing its most significant hotel development phase in almost 20 years, and travelers will be able to experience new product covering all accommodation styles and budgets.”