Our Tourism Businesses in Australia report provides statistics on Australia’s 300,000 plus tourism businesses. Find out about changes in business size, numbers and contribution from June 2015 to June 2020.
COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on Australia’s tourism industry. This report includes data up to and including June 2020, capturing:
There were 317,653 tourism businesses in Australia at June 2020. This made up around 13% of Australia’s 2.4 million businesses.
The number of tourism businesses in Australia grew 15% since June 2015. Much of this was due to 142% growth in taxi transport and vehicle hire businesses. Without this particular increase, there would have only been 7% growth in tourism businesses since 2015.
Tourism businesses also increased by 1.2% during 2019-20. This was despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the 2019-20 summer bushfires. However, the rate of growth for 2019-20 was the slowest since 2014-15.
Tourism businesses at June 2020 had fewer employees on average and lower turnovers compared to a year earlier. This was mainly due to:
This change in composition is partly due to existing businesses shedding workers, and the entry of new businesses.
The Tourism Businesses in Australia report describes the health of the tourism industry, and its response to changing business conditions and consumer behaviours. In this report, you will see changes:
You can also see changes within selected sectors of the industry.
As with previous reports, data are presented over a 5-year timeframe. However, the impacts of COVID-19 on Australia’s tourism industry were rapid and dramatic. The impacts are also expected to be long lasting. As a result, there is further analysis in this report about changes that occurred in 2019-20.
Tourism businesses are categorised by employment size to make it easier to understand growth patterns. These are:
2020 was a devastating year for Australian tourism businesses. The year started with some of Australia’s worst ever bushfires across large parts of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. These resulted in:
When recovery was within reach, the COVID-19 pandemic began. This saw:
Demand slumped as global travellers cancelled plans and travel restrictions stifled domestic tourism.
No sector of the economy escaped the impacts of the pandemic. However, tourism was one of the industries most affected:
Many challenges remain, but there are some positive signs:
The return of international tourism will be much slower. However, Australia will be able to market itself as a relatively safe travel destination when travel does return to scale.
Australia had 317,653 tourism businesses at June 2020. This is 1.2% more businesses than at June 2019 and 15% more than at June 2015. This means the number of tourism businesses continued to grow, despite the very difficult environment. However, it was the slowest rate of growth since 2014-15.
Possible reasons for this growth are:
On average, these businesses tend to be far smaller than existing businesses. This means the overall impact on Australia’s tourism sector is low, despite the large numbers of businesses involved.
The composition of the Australian tourism industry has changed significantly since 2015. For example, there are:
|Tourism related industries||Number of businesses (June 2015)||Number of businesses (June 2020)||Growth|
|Cafes, restaurants and takeaways – includes clubs, pubs, taverns and bars||74,586||83,881||12%|
|Taxi transport and Other road transport||16,392||39,604||142%|
|Air and water transport||5,123||5,276||3.0%|
|Motor vehicle hiring including Rail transport||1,717||2,246||31%|
|Travel agency and tour operator services||5,475||8,472||55%|
|Arts and recreation||26,189||31,172||19%|
Note: totals in different tables varies from actual estimates given in figure 1 (317,653). This is due to ABS confidentialising the data.
Drivers of growth in tourism businesses between June 2019 and June 2020 were:
Tourism businesses are mostly small operations. At June 2020:
The concentration of smaller businesses with 0 to 5 employees is greatest in:
Businesses with over 200 employees grew 23% between June 2015 and 2020. This is due to both expansion and consolidation.
Micro, small and medium businesses grew only 1.1% over the same period. This slower rate of growth reflects a continuing shift away from smaller employing businesses to larger businesses.
The number of non-employing businesses increased 35% from 117,500 to 158,200. Over half of this growth (58%) came from taxi transport alone. This was an increase of more than 23,000 taxi transport businesses in June 2015.
There was a loss of more than 1,600 micro tourism businesses between June 2019 and June 2020. Over the same period the number of non-employing tourism businesses grew by more than 5,100.
|Non Employing||1-4 Employees (Micro)||5-19 Employees (Small)||20-199 Employees (Medium)||200+ Employees (Large)||Total|
|Tourism businesses 2019||153,090||91,012||54,181||14,857||876||314,016|
|Tourism businesses 2020||158,201||89,388||54,345||14,823||896||317,653|
This shift in composition means that:
This decline in employment is consistent with the results of the National Tourism Satellite Account 2019–20. This reported a 6.6% fall in tourism workers between 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Turnover for most tourism businesses is low. At June 2020:
At June 2020, most tourism businesses (81%) were located in:
This is consistent with the State Tourism Satellite Account (STSA) data. The STSA shows these 3 states collectively accounted for 77% of tourism GDP and national visitor consumption in 2019-20.
Business numbers grew most quickly between June 2015 and June 2019 in these states and territories:
The slower growing states were:
Patterns of growth have changed between June 2019 and June 2020. States and territories showing stronger growth in business numbers were:
Tourism business numbers declined in the ACT (down 2.1%) and business numbers remained unchanged in Western Australia.
The number of tourism businesses in regional Australia increased by an average of 0.7% annually between June 2015 and June 2019. This was well below the 4.6% growth rate for capital cities and the Gold Coast. As a result, the share of tourism business in regional Australia has declined from 33.8% to 30.4%.
More recent data shows that between June 2019 and June 2020, regional Australia experienced a:
|Number of businesses at June 2020||Growth since June 2019|
|Regional Australia||Capital cities and Gold Coast||Regional Australia||Capital cities and Gold Coast|
There are clear differences between the types of tourism businesses operating in the regions compared with the capital cities and Gold Coast.
In regional Australia there is an over-representation (compared to the national average) of:
In the capital cities and Gold Coast there are more:
Find out more about tourism businesses in our data tables.