Topping the chart of favourite activities to do over the December holiday period is hitting the shops for some sales action and a bit of retail therapy.

A recent Nielsen survey commissioned by the Tourism & Transport Forum shows a whopping 63 per cent of Aussies will head out for a day of shopping. 46 per cent saying that they would head to the beach, with 38 per cent excited to visit a park or go bushwalking.

Tourism & Transport Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond said that retail plays an important part of the tourism piece particularly at this time of year.

“It is not just locals, but many tourists visiting Australia from overseas at this time, tend to indulge in recreational holiday shopping, both for themselves but also to take gifts home with them for friends and family at the end of their visit,” Ms Osmond said.

“And with the post-Christmas sales starting on Boxing Day and carrying on throughout January, it’s an opportune time to grab a bargain or two at a range of different shopping destinations in both our cities and regional areas.”

Seven out of ten (72%) females will go shopping and more than half of men (55%) will be eager to rummage through the Boxing Day sales. Baby boomers lead the retail charge, with 67 per cent keen to get in on the action.

Across the states, leading the shopping pack are the Victorians (69%), closely followed by South Australians on 64 per cent. More than half (59%) of Queenslanders will hit the shops, but interesting they lead the pack (39%) when it comes to visiting a park or heading out for a bushwalk.

“In Australia, we rely on retail tourism as an important piece of the wider tourism employment and economic pie particularly in popular destinations frequented by visitors,” Ms Osmond said.

“In fact the three largest industries that directly employ within the tourism sector are the food and beverage industry (28%), followed by this retail trade (17%), with accommodation (16%) rounding out the top three, according to the latest Tourism Research Australia State Tourism Satellite Accounts, 2016-17”.