National Visitor Survey results

Year ending June 2020

Our National Visitor Survey results provide statistics on how Australian residents travel within Australia. You can find national, state and territory results for the:

  • number of trips taken
  • number of nights spent on a trip
  • amount spent on a trip

You can also:

  • read about the factors influencing travel within Australia
  • see the changes compared over various timeframes impacted by bushfires and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Annual snapshot

Overnight spend


Year ending June 2020
$63.0 billion
Down 19%

Overnight trips


Year ending June 2020
92.0 million
Down 19%

Nights on trip


Year ending June 2020
341.5 million
Down 15%

Quarterly snapshot

Overnight spend


June quarter 2020
$3.9 billion
Down 80%

Overnight trips


June quarter 2020
10.0 million
Down 67%

Nights on trip


June quarter 2020
38.2 million
Down 62%

Total trip spend

The recent bushfires and COVID-19 have had an enormous impact on Australia’s domestic tourism market.

Domestic tourism saw a total loss of $21.7 billion in January to June 2020 when compared with the same period in 2019. This comprised:

  • domestic overnight losses of $17.7 billion
  • domestic day losses of $4.0 billion

Factors affecting travel volume

COVID-19 reduced travel volumes significantly. In the 2020 June quarter:

  • border closures negatively impacted the interstate market
  • social distancing measures meant travellers had less opportunity to participate in a range of activities
  • capital cities had greater losses in domestic overnight visits than regional areas
  • average overnight trip spend was just $385 per person. This was well down on the $648 per person for the same quarter in 2019

Domestic travel spend and trips

See the difference for spend and trips between this year and last year.

Domestic travel spend, January to June 2020
Spend ($ billion) January to June 2019 January to June 2020 Difference % change
Overnight 39.4 21.8 -17.7 -45
Day trips 12.4 8.4 -4.0 -32
Total domestic 51.9 30.2 -21.7 -42
Domestic travel trips, January to June 2020
Trips (million) January to June 2019 January to June 2020 Difference % change
Overnight 59.8 34.3 -25.4 -43
Day trips 123.8 82.0 -41.8 -34
Total domestic 183.6 116.4 -67.2 -37

Reasons for travel

Australians’ reasons for travel changed due to the impact of COVID-19:

  • Holiday trips were most affected across the 2020 June quarter. Overnight trips fell 78% to 2.6 million and spend fell 87% to $1.1 billion.
  • Trips to visit friends and relatives (VFR) were down 63% to 3.8 million. Spend was down 81% to $729 million.
  • Business trips fell 60% to 2.9 million. Spend fell 73% to $1.7 billion.

Travel behaviour

The Australian traveller profile has changed due to COVID-19.

Australians usually travel to go on holiday. However since COVID-19, they took more overnight trips and spent more nights away for business-related and VFR travel. In the June quarter 2020:

  • business-related visitor nights fell 44% to 14.2 million
  • VFR nights fell 61% to 11.4 million
  • holiday nights fell 79% to 8.3 million

Spending behaviour

Domestic overnight spend fell 45% or $17.7 billion to $21.8 billion from January to June 2020. This included losses for:

  • holiday—down 43% or $8.1 billion
  • VFR—down 45% or $3.6 billion
  • business travel—down 51% or $5.6 billion

This greatly outweighed the solid growth recorded overall by each visit purpose across the first half of 2019–20.

Change in domestic overnight trips and spend, January to June 2020
Change in domestic overnight trips and spend, January to  June 2020

Note: The sum may not add up to 100%. Only major reasons for travel are shown.

Overnight trip spend

Most of the loss in overnight spend in January to June 2020 occurred in the June quarter. Spend during this quarter was down $15.8 billion. This was a fall of 80%.

Visitor spend patterns also changed significantly due to COVID-19 restrictions. The share of total overnight spend on:

  • fuel was up from 11% to 19%
  • groceries for self-catering was also up from 5% to 12%
  • domestic airfares was down from 16% to 6%
  • takeaway and restaurant meals was down from 17% to 14%

Some spend categories had close to 100% falls in June quarter 2020:

  • Convention and conference fees—down 99%
  • Organised tours—down 98%
  • Gambling—down 98%
  • Entertainment—down 97%
  • Taxis—down 95%

These changes are consistent with current travel behaviour. Private vehicle is the main transport. Activities are limited by COVID-19 restrictions.

Travel activities

Some travel activities were affected more by COVID-19 restrictions in June quarter 2020.

Indoor activities

Overnight trips involving arts and heritage and/or social activities fell by more than 90%. These included visits to:

  • museums
  • galleries
  • heritage buildings
  • festivals and events
  • theme parks
  • pubs/clubs
  • casinos
  • organised sporting events
  • guided tours
  • organised tours and excursions

Trips that included eating out and dining at restaurants were down by 84%.

Outdoor activities

Overnight trips involving nature and other outdoor activities fared better. The decline ranged between 60% and 75% for trips with visits to:

  • farms
  • national parks
  • beaches

and/or those with these activities:

  • bushwalking
  • cycling
  • surfing
  • fishing
  • golf
Percentage change in overnight trip activities, June quarter 2020
Number of tourism businesses 2014-2019

Accommodation

Visitor nights fell by 15% for the year ending June 2020 and 62% or 64.0 million for the June quarter 2020.
Most accommodation types have seen significant declines. These falls were much larger for the commercial accommodation sector in June quarter 2020:

  • Hotel, motel and resort-style accommodation fell 83% or 20.9 million nights, to just 4.4 million.
  • Rented apartments and units fell 71% or 6.1 million nights to 2.5 million.
  • Caravan parks and commercial camping grounds fell 70% or 5.4 million nights to 2.3 million.
  • Property of a friend or relative fell 57%.

Commercial accommodation saw overnight trip spend fall 78% to $1.1 billion in June quarter 2020. This is significant loss of business in these categories.

Percentage change in nights by accommodation type
Year ending June 2020 and June quarter 2020
Percentage  change in nights by accommodation type

Note: The sum may not add up to 100%. Only some accommodation types are shown.

Interstate and intrastate travel

Interstate travel made up 33% of all domestic overnight trips and 56% of spend during pre COVID-19 conditions in 2019. The average trip spend for interstate travel was $1,173 per person compared to $452 per person for intrastate.   
State border closures due to COVID-19 saw significant falls for June quarter 2020:

  • interstate trips fell 88% to just 1.1 million
  • intrastate trips fell 57% to 8.9 million

The usually lucrative interstate market accounted for just 11% of all overnight trips. This compares with 31% in June quarter 2019.

Shifts in behaviour

The profile of interstate/intrastate travel completely changed during the June quarter 2020:

  • Business (41%) and VFR (36%) dominated interstate travel instead of holiday.
  • Interstate visits for VFR saw average trip spend per person of $417. This was less than half the $1,035 per person spent on holiday travel in the June quarter 2019.

Transport

Transport used for domestic overnight trips changed significantly in the June quarter 2020:

  • Travel by self-drive vehicle accounted for over 90% (9.2 million) of all domestic overnight trips. This was up from 73% on the June quarter 2019.
  • In contrast, domestic overnight trips that included air travel fell from 24% to 6%.

This pattern is consistent with travellers preferring to drive to regional areas over visits to capital cities.

Overall, capital cities saw a far more significant fall in domestic overnight visits (78%) than regional areas (61%).

Transport used for overnight domestic trips, June quarter 2019 and 20
Transport used for overnight domestic trips

Note: The sum may add to more than 100. More than one type of transport can be used per trip.

State and territory results

All states and territories had a fall in overnight visitors and spend for the year ending June 2020.

Overnight trips and spend by state, year ending June 2020
State Number of visitors
(million)
Visitors
% change
Spend
$ billion
Spend
% change
New South Wales 30.3 -19% $18.1 -20%
Victoria 22.7 -22% $13.3 -18%
Queensland 20.4 -19% $15.3 -19%
South Australia 6.5 -12% $4.0 -17%
Western Australia 9.4 -12% $7.0 -14%
Tasmania 2.4 -25% $2.3 -20%
Northern Territory 1.3 -18% $1.6 -25%
Australian Capital Territory  2.5 -14% $1.4 -26%

Note: The sum of the total number of visitors for each state will be greater than the total number of visitors for Australia. This is because travellers can visit more than one state.

Explore overnight trips data

Interact with our data for domestic overnight trips for year ending June 2020. You can view the data by:

  • state or territory
  • capital city or region
  • interstate and intrastate trips
  • accommodation type
  • reason for travel

Data tables

National Visitor Survey results data tables

See all of the National Visitor Survey results by location and theme for the year ending June 2020

https://www.tra.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/185/NVS_TOURISM_RESULTS_YE_JUN_2020.xlsx.aspx

Alternative version

You can download this publication as a PDF (232KB). Please note that the format, layout and readability of the PDF differs to the screen version but the information is the same.

Read more

Contact us

Email tourism.research@tra.gov.au