In 2016–17, tourism contributed $55.3 billion to Australia’s economy and employed 598,200 people.
When considering tourism, most people think of international tourists. However, in Australia domestic visitors outspent international visitors by more than two to one ($82.3 billion versus $40.6 billion), with total tourism spend reaching $122.9 billion. Importantly, 43 cents in every tourism dollar went to regional Australia.
These are impressive statistics, but what do they actually mean?
Whether they come from Brisbane or Beijing, money spent by tourists supports a wide range of industries across the nation, which in turn help to support Australia’s economy overall.
In 2016–17, $16.4 billion was spent on commercial accommodation, which paid for 306 million nights across a range of accommodation, from two-man tents to six-star resorts. Nationally, 88,800 people were employed in the accommodation industry.
NIGHTS IN COMMERCIAL ACCOMMODATION
hotels and similar accommodation
Rented house/apartment/flat or unit
caravan park or commercial camping ground
backpacker or hostel
% share of commercial nights
Due to Australia’s geographic location, the most popular way of getting here is by air. In 2016–17, there were almost 97,000 flights into Australia carrying 20.2 million passengers.
Australia is vast, so air travel is often the best way of reaching far flung destinations. While 59 million passengers travelled around the country on domestic flights, they only accounted for 24% of domestic overnight travel. Travel by car remains the most popular mode of travel, making up 74% of overnight trips, while rail and bus make up the remaining 2%.
Continued investment in road, rail and aviation infrastructure will not only deliver transport options to tourists, but also the products they demand. In 2016–17, tourists spent $13.7 billion on transport, helping employ 64,200 people.
TRANSPORT TYPE USED BY ALL VISITORS
Insights from Industry: Carnival Australia
Everyone loves to eat, especially on holidays.
In 2016–17, domestic tourists spent $23.9 billion on food and drink.
The money spent at cafes, restaurants, pubs and takeaways contributed $10.4 billion directly to Australia’s economy, with the remaining flowing through to industries along the supply chain such as agriculture, manufacturing and transport.
Nationally, 201,300 people were employed in the food services industry across Australia, accounting for more than one-third of tourism employees.
DOMESTIC VISITOR SPEND ON FOOD AND DRINK
Insights from Industry Restaurant & Catering Australia
Input from Government Austrade
What’s a holiday without some retail therapy?
Tourists in Australia spent $10.3 billion on shopping, with $6.3 billion going directly to Australia’s economy. The rest went to industries supplying the retail sector, such as manufacturing, transport and wholesale trade.
International visitors love our products, taking $2.5 billion worth of shopping back home. Sharing purchases with friends and family showcases the diversity and quality of Aussie products, and expands our export markets.
INTERNATIONAL SPEND ON SHOPPING, TOP FIVE MARKETS
While eating and shopping are fun, visitors also want to be entertained.
Tourists spent $3.8 billion on entertainment in 2016–17. They especially liked sport, with 9.7 million visitors attending organised sporting events. To meet this demand, the Sport and recreation services industry employed 18,100 people. In total, ‘entertainment’ – including Cultural services, Casinos and gambling services and Sports and recreation services – contributed $1.9 billion to Australia’s economy and employed 31,000 people.
USE OF ENTERTAINMENT FACILITIES BY VISITORS
It’s not all about fun, however – some visitors were here for more serious pursuits.
Spending on education is growing rapidly and is the third largest spend item among international visitors, behind airfares and food, drink and accommodation. Spend on education was $5.9 billion, with $4.6 billion flowing straight into Australia’s economy. Tourism also created 46,800 jobs in the education industry.
INTERNATIONAL SPEND ON EDUCATION
Insights from Industry Universities Australia
Tourism 2020 is a partnership between government and industry to increase overnight spend to between $115 billion and $140 billion by 2020.
For 2016–17, overnight spend was $103.2 billion – 47% towards the $140 billion target. A strong tourism investment pipeline is supporting this growth, with 204 tourism projects worth $37.8 billion at June 2017.
Current forecasts predict overnight spend will reach $131 billion by 2020, with growth in international spend outpacing growth in domestic spend.