With the Australian currency growing steadily weaker, Australians are spending less time abroad and more time seeing what their own country has to offer.
According to the latest National Visitor Survey by Tourism Research Australia, Aussies spent $55.7 billion on domestic travel last year, a six per cent increase from the previous year, and spent 312 million nights away from home.
Tourism Research Australia said the weakening Australian currency is likely to continue to boost domestic tourism as overseas travel becomes more expensive.
“In 2011, the Australian dollar was as high as US$1.11 and US$1.08 in 2012,” said a TRA spokesman.
“The Australian dollar has average over US $0.96 cents since 2010. It’s currently at US $0.77 cents.”
According to the survey, the most popular domestic travel destinations are Tasmania, which recorded double digit growth, Victoria and Western Australia.
All states achieved annual growth in spending and visitors, but on a city by city basis, Sydney lost ground to Melbourne and the Gold Coast suffered a 5.6 per cent decrease in domestic visitors, many of whom opted instead for the Sunshine Coast.
The Gold Coast dropped out of the top five most popular regions to visit, now placing seventh behind Perth and the New South Wales’ South Coast.
The NSW North Coast held on to fourth place.
A number of states saw much of the domestic travel growth occur in regional areas including New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. This growth, according to Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW CEO Lyndel Gray, is encouraging.
“There’s so many towns across regional Australia where tourism is their lifeblood,” said Ms Grey.
“It reflects what we’re seeing in terms of families wanting to show their kids how they holidayed as children, and wanting to take time together to explore their backyard.”