National Visitor Survey MONTHLY Snapshot

August 2021

Our monthly snapshots make it easier to monitor changes in Australian tourism activity. You can view results each month or quarterly.

We have compared this month’s results with August 2019 rather than August 2020. In August 2020, Australians:

  • took 5.2 million overnight trips (down 40%)
  • spent $3.0 billion (down 53%).

This was a large deviation from the usual pre-pandemic levels.

Overnight spend

August 2021

$2.6 billion

Down 59% on August 2019

Overnight trips

August 2021

3.4 million

Down 60% on August 2019

Nights spent on trip

August 2021

15.7 million

Down 49% on August 2019

Domestic tourism August 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Australia’s domestic tourism market. The downturn of domestic tourism seen in June and July became worse in August 2021.

Increased lockdowns and border restrictions were enforced across much of the country in response to Delta outbreaks of COVID-19. This included state-wide lockdowns in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (Vic) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

In August 2021:

  • Overnight spend was down 59% or $3.7 billion on August 2019, and 37% or $1.5 billion on July 2021.
  • Spend declined most in NSW, Vic and the ACT. Spend in NSW ($189 million) and the ACT ($12 million) was the lowest seen since April 2020. Spend in Vic ($273 million) was the lowest since October 2020.
  • Queensland (35%) and Western Australia (29%) contributed most to national overnight spend. NSW and Vic shares were just 7% and 11%.
  • Interstate travel was impacted heavily by state border restrictions. Interstate overnight trips were down 90% on August 2019 and 67% on July 2021. Spend was down 84% ($3.2 billion) on August 2019.
  • Intrastate travel suffered to a lesser extent. Overnight trips were down 44% on August 2019 and 23% on July 2021. Spend was down 20% ($506 million) on August 2019.
  • Intrastate overnight trips contributed 76% to total spend. This was up from 39% in August 2019.

Results for September are unlikely to improve as lockdowns continued. However, with Australia on its journey of ‘living with COVID-19’, October has seen restrictions start to ease. This brings hope of improved results for November and December 2021 and the new year.

Overnight trips and spend

In August 2021, Australians:

  • took 3.4 million overnight trips
  • spent $2.6 billion
  • stayed 15.7 million nights.

Compared to a pre-COVID August 2019, this was a:

  • 60% fall in overnight trips
  • 59% fall in spend
  • 49% fall in nights stayed.

Domestic day trips

Australians took 6.9 million day trips and spent $862 million in August 2021.

Compared to pre-COVID August 2019, this was a:

  • 67% fall in day trips
  • 66% fall in spend.

Hover over the bars of the relevant state or territory to show total figures.

Hover on the line over the relevant month to show total figures.

Hover on the line over the relevant month to show total figures.

The trip rate for November 2021 tells us 19.5% of NVS respondents interviewed in weeks 1, 2 and 3 reported taking one or more overnight trips in the preceding 28 days (the reference period). The return date will have been in October for some of these trips.

The trip estimate of 3.4 million for the month of August refers to overnight trips returned from in that month.


Regional and capital city visitors and spend

Regional areas continue to fare better than capital cities.

Capital cities

In August 2021, Australians:

  • took 996,000 overnight trips to capital cities
  • spent $653 million.

Compared to pre-COVID August 2019, this was a:

  • 73% fall in overnight trips
  • 78% fall in spend.

Regional areas

In contrast, Australians:

  • took 2.5 million overnight trips to regional areas
  • spent $1.9 billion.

Compared to pre-COVID August 2019, this was a:

  • 51% fall in overnight trips
  • 41% fall in spend.

National Visitor Survey results monthly data tables

NVS results monthly data tables

Monthly data for overnight and day travel by state and territory

Monthly data for overnight and day travel by state and territory as compared to June 2019


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