Australian domestic tourism was on a roll pre-COVID, according to Tourism Research Australia. Its latest survey reveals:

  • Domestic overnight tourism showed considerable growth for the year ending March 2020 despite the effects of the Australian 2019-2020 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, with overnight spend up 6% to $78.8 billion and overnight trips up 3% to 112.3 million.
  • The summer bushfires and COVID-19 had a significant effect on overnight domestic tourism in the March quarter 2020, with overnight trips falling 18% and spend down 10% to $17.9 billion.
  • The summer bushfires contributed to falls of 6% and 7% in overnight trips in the months of January and February 2020, with sharp falls in visitor numbers seen in New South Wales in January 2020, dropping 16% to 3.3 million trips and Victoria in February 2020, dropping 14% to 2.0 million visitors. Spend also fell 5% in February to $4.7 billion, with the largest fall observed in South Australia, dropping 21% to $325 million.
  • Measures imposed in Australia in the month of March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic also had a significant impact on domestic tourism in the March quarter, with overnight trips falling 39% and spend down 41% or $2.6 billion for the month of March.
  • One in three residents reported changing travel plans for trips within Australia due to COVID-19. Of those that did make a change, 66% reported cancelling and 28% delaying or postponing a trip while one in four Australians reported changing overseas travel plans.
  • With outbound travel by Australian residents currently limited, there is potential for Australians to redirect some of the $65.5 billion they spent overseas in 2019 on travel within Australia. In May and June 2020 more than half (53%) of those interviewed planned to take a domestic trip within the next 3 months and 80% within the next 12 months.


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