Australia's visitor economy on the path to recovery

  • Media release

The Australian Government is investing in the visitor economy to get it back on the path to sustainable growth after a difficult few years.

New data out today from Austrade's Tourism Research Australia (TRA) shows domestic and regional tourism were the green shoots of a sector hard hit by lockdowns and border closures throughout 2021.

The Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator Don Farrell, said the Government is focused on getting the visitor economy on the path to recovery.

“Australia's tourism sector is lucky to have some of the most unique and in-demand experiences anywhere in world, including being home to the world's oldest living culture,” Minister Farrell said.

“While conditions are still challenging, and recovery will take time, the Australian Government is working with tourism-related businesses to enable them to adapt.

“As part of the long-term visitor economy strategy, THRIVE 2030, we are working with industry to build back better. This includes a target of returning expenditure in the visitor economy to pre-pandemic levels by 2024 and increasing it to $230 billion by 2030.”

“We expect domestic tourism to continue its recovery in 2022, supported by pent-up demand for travel, holiday leave accrued during lockdowns, marketing and increased confidence to travel domestically,” Minister Farrell said.

“The Australian Government has also committed to new funding to attract workers to Australia's vibrant and dynamic tourism industry.

“We will fund a range of initiatives including a campaign to increase worker numbers, building operator skills through the Quality Tourism Framework, and working with industry to upgrade our tourism infrastructure such as caravan parks.”

TRA's 2021 State of the Industry report, released today, offers detailed data and insights on how the sector performed across the year.

In 2021, the number of domestic overnight trips was up by 13 per cent on 2020. The average length of stay also increased, as did the average spend per trip.

Regional tourism grew from a 44 per cent share of total tourism spend in 2019 to a 63 per cent share in 2021, with capital cities harder hit harder than regional areas during the pandemic.

Since international borders opened in November 2021, international visitor arrivals to Australia increased sharply, led by those visiting friends and relatives, and international students.

This travel trend has continued into the new year, with the most recent May 2022 figures showing that while bookings from open markets like Singapore had practically returned to pre-pandemic levels, those markets still experiencing travel restrictions remained weak.

View the 2021 State of the Industry report at: State of the Industry | Tourism Research Australia.

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