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Australian regional tourism forecast to grow

Australian regional tourism is on the move

New forecasts for regional tourism released show better than expected growth in regional tourism further demonstrating the resilience of Australia’s tourism industry.

The Tourism Forecasting Committee’s (TFC) Regional Forecasts 2012 show that domestic visitor nights in regional areas are expected to grow by 1.5 per cent to 168 million nights in 2011-12 and international visitor nights are expected to increase by 1.8 per cent to 40 million nights in 2011-12.  Domestic nights are expected to grow a further 0.6 per cent and international nights a further 3.1 per cent in 2012-13.

The forecasts are an upward revision to previous forecasts of a 0.2 per cent fall in domestic tourist nights and 0.1 per cent decline in international tourist nights to regional areas for 2011-12 reflecting tourism’s resilience to the sustained high value of the Australian dollar and continuing global economic uncertainty.

States and territories with the largest increases in domestic visitor nights to regional areas in 2011-12 are expected to be Queensland (6.0 per cent), Victoria (4.3 per cent), and Tasmania (2.8 per cent). For international visitor nights, the growth is forecast to be 4 per cent or more to regional areas of Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory in 2011-12.

Australia’s Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, said the forecasts are positive news for regional tourism operators.

“With 46 per cent of tourism expenditure in Australia spent in regional areas, the forecast growth in domestic and international visitor nights to regional areas will support hard working tourism businesses and their employees,” Ferguson said.

“Particularly pleasing is that the forecast have turned around from a predicted decline in domestic tourism nights in 2011-12 to an increase of 1.5 per cent which is testament to the resilience of Australia’s tourism sector in the face of a high Aussie dollar and the natural disasters of last year.

“Similarly the turnaround in expectations to solid forecast growth in international nights spent in regional areas is positive news as tourists head out of the big cities to enjoy more time in Australia’s beautiful natural scenery and spend their tourist dollar in our regional areas.

“Much of the increase in international nights can be attributed to working holiday makers who are a vital part of regional tourism including by providing seasonal labour in the industry with Working Holiday visa grants up 14 per cent in the six months to 31 December 2011.”

The TFC Regional Forecasts are available at www.ret.gov.au/tra

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