Australian tourism appears to be on the road to recovery, according to new research.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released this morning revealed short-term international arrivals in Australian are now at 80 per cent of pre-Covid numbers. Short-term visits, which suffered an exponential drop after global lockdowns began in March 2020, have gradually increased since December 2021.
Post-Covid visits are continuing to pick up, with an increase of 443,080 visits from March 2022 to March 2023. NSW has attracted the most visitors, with 234,000 arrivals this March, 74,750 more than the next highest state, Victoria.
Destination Wollongong Business Development Manager Tracey Pascoe said international tourists play a unique role in the industry.
“Internationals are good because internationals travel mid-week and that’s when we can accomodate them,” she said.
“It certainly helps with our products mid-week… it certainly helps with the economic benefit.”
Ms Pascoe said the upturn in overseas visitors is a promising sign for tourism providers who have weathered the economic impacts of the pandemic.
“Occupancies are really good for the hotels, especially on the weekends. So… things are getting back to normal, which is fantastic,” she said.
Australia’s overseas visitors came from a variety of countries in 2022, with most from New Zealand and significant numbers from the United Kingdom and India. Visits to friends or relatives made up 47.8 per cent of the short-term overseas stays and holiday-makers accounted for 28.6 per cent of visits.
Ms Pascoe said some of these Australian trends are likewise reflected in the trends of tourists coming to Wollongong.
“I’ve heard from a couple of the operators [nationwide] that North American markets are quite strong for them… and that does reflect on the top three markets who are coming here [to Wollongong]… followed by UK and New Zealand”.
The number of short-stay visitors to Australia increased by 3.4 million from 2021 to 2022. However, last year’s total still falls significantly short of pre-covid levels, only matching 30 per cent of the visitor totals from 2019.
The data also showed Australian residents have themselves been departing for short-term visits in increasing amounts. Data from April 2023 shows a boost of 826,000 people going on short-term trips compared to the same month in 2022.
Tourism Research Australia predicts that Australian tourism will surpass it’s pre-covid international visitor profit amount in 2024, predicting revenue to hit 48.8 billion by 2027.