New figures highlight that visitors and locals continue to both flock into and travel around Australia in record numbers and are happy to open their wallets while they are here.

Tourism & Transport Forum Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond said Tourism Research Australia data released today highlights that international visitors are now spending $43.2 billion annually, up from $41.2 billion over the previous year.

“Locals are also taking the time to visit their own backyard, with overnight spending now $70.3 billion annually, up a whopping $6.6 billion, over 10 per cent, from the $63.7 billion spend over the corresponding period last year,” Ms Osmond said.

“Overall combined international and domestic spending, now north of $113 billion, demonstrates tourism’s ever strengthening position as a bedrock of the Australian economy.”

Outside of NSW, which has also had a bumper twelve months to September 2018, domestic visitor nights and domestic visitor spending in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have all increased significantly.

Domestic visitors spent around 73,500 nights in Victoria, up 7.4 per cent from the some 68,500 the previous year, with similar increases in Queensland and South Australia, with nights in Queensland jumping 7.1 per cent from around 86,000 to 92,000 nights and nights in South Australia increasing 5.7 per cent from 22,000 to over 23,300 nights.

Expenditure is also up across these states, with domestic visitors spending up 9.8 per cent in Victoria, rising from $13.3 billion to $14.6 billion. Similarly in the Sunshine State, spending by locals was up a massive 12.5 per cent from $15.7 billion to $17.6 billion over the year. Spending in South Australia was also up 8.7 per cent from $3.8 billion to now sit at $4.1 billion.

“Australia’s strong domestic tourism results are further boosted by continued growth in international visitor numbers and spending, particularly by Chinese visitors but also longstanding major inbound markets including New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom,” said Ms Osmond.

“These heavy hitters are backed up by high growth emerging markets like India, a market which in terms of visitor numbers has leaped by 20 per cent over the last year from 271,000 to 324,000 visitors.

“Indian visitor nights have surged, growing 21 per cent from 15.5 million to almost 19 million nights and spending has also risen from this growing market, up 10 per cent from $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion.

“The recent cricket test series against India shows that while the results on the pitch might not have gone our way this time, off the pitch in our hotels, cafes and restaurants, Australians are truly reaping the inbound tourism rewards from growing markets like India.

“Tourism is fast becoming the underpinning driver of the Australian economy, with direct tourism employment forecast to grow nationally from around 598,000 jobs or 4.9 per cent of total national employment up to around 1 million jobs or 7.7 per cent of total national employment by 2022.

“This contribution to national employment is already higher than financial services, agriculture and mining and is also set to leapfrog manufacturing and these figures show this contribution is set to continue,” Ms Osmond said.