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Tourism starts a recovery but hotels and the city seem so 2019

The financial losses continue to pile up in the tourism sector with the damage exceeding $82 billion for the year to the end of March, according to data from Tourism Research Australia.

Jun 30, 2021, updated Jul 01, 2021
Camping in regional Queensland is booming

Camping in regional Queensland is booming

In Queensland, the spend was $12 billion, down 36 per cent.

Australians have also changed where they travel to and the style of accommodation they prefer. Hotels have been the big loser in that shift, but rented accommodation, like apartments, camping and caravans, was booming.

Business travel has also declined dramatically, particularly interstate trips.

In the domestic market Australia-wide overnight trips were down 35 per cent and spend was down $33 billion for the year, but there were signs of improvement in the quarterly data.

For the March quarter, overnight trips were up 1 per cent to 24.6 million on March quarter 2020. Spending was unchanged at $17.9 billion.

TRA said intrastate travel continued to drive recovery. It was up 13 per cent to 19.3 million and spending was 30 per cent higher at $11.3 billion, as visitors took longer trips.

Regional areas continued to fare better than capital cities. Overnight trips to regional Australia were up 12 per cent to 17.8 million and spending was up 23 per cent to $12 billion.

That appeared to indicate that people were taking longer trips to the regions.

“In contrast, overnight trips to capital cities fell 18 per cent to 7.9 million and spending was down 28 per cent or $2.3 billion to $5.9 billion,” TRA said.

“Australians are currently substituting previous outbound, interstate and capital city holidays with longer length self-drive visits to regional areas close to home.

“Business travel recorded large losses in March quarter 2021, most notably in capital cities and for interstate travel. Overnight trips were down 49 per cent in capital cities and 54 per cent for interstate destinations and spend down a similar 55 per cent and 51 per cent
respectively.

“Rented apartments and units and caravan parks and commercial camping grounds fared particularly well in March quarter 2021. Nights were up 20 per cent to 10.9 million for rented accommodation and 16 per cent to 10.6 million for caravan and camping.”

Economist Pete Faulkner, from Conus Consultancy, said the data showed Queensland had been doing much better during the recovery period with March 2021 expenditures up 88.5 per cent since March 2020.

“While the monthly data has been showing solid outperformance by regional Queensland this is yet to be reflected in the data for the year to March in Tropical North Queensland,” Faulkner said.

“Visitor numbers were down 31.9 per cent (better than nationally but worse than for all of Queensland) and expenditures were likewise down 37.4 per cent. Part of this apparent worse performance is a base effect due to strong domestic numbers in TNQ during the second, third and fourth quarters of 2019 which pushed up the year to March 2020 figures.”

 

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