The dirt on tourism growth in regional Australia 

Tourism Australia and Austrade’s new Tourism Investment in Regional Australia dishes the dirt on what’s happening in regional tourism, and that is that tourism into regional areas is growing! - 4.1% each year during the last five years on average. With good reason, as many iconic attractions and bucket-list spots are in regional areas

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Regional Australia is well-placed to capitalise on the trend of intense global demand for travel experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level. This is driving products that are adventurous, personalised, attuned to local culture, and inspire consumers toward self-discovery. With tourism one of five key ‘super-growth sectors’ driving new jobs and growth, the potential of tourism for regional Australian economies is significant.

Which markets come to regional Australia?

In contrast to Australia as a whole where Chinese are the greatest source market, one third of visitors to regional Australia come from the UK, NZ and USA (combined). However, growth in visitors from Asia is huge (China at 13.4% each year on average for the past five years and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and Thailand all with double digit growth) and therefore the Asian market is a significant opportunity – if the product offering and distribution is right.

Why are they coming?

Common reasons why international visitors choose to come to Australia include nature and wildlife experiences, food and wine, and aquatic and coastal experiences, the best of which are often found in regional Australia.

Image from Tourism Australia and Austrade’s  Tourism Investment in Regional Australia

Image from Tourism Australia and Austrade’s Tourism Investment in Regional Australia

Enjoyment of food and wine is the most significant motivator for travel.  It is how people holiday and what they share, together and on social media. While quality food and wine can be found all over regional Australia, tourism experiences are clustered in the country’s renowned wine regions. 

Aquatic and coastal experiences feature prominently in the Australian way of life -  our excellent year-round temperate climate which lends itself to outdoor sports and aquatic activities, and our vast coastline plays an important role in defining the character of Australia. Inland networks of waterways include huge tidal rivers, scenic billabongs, and mangrove-lined estuaries which offer a variety of world-class fishing options.

As you know, Australia’s wildlife is unique, but did you know exactly how unique? Most of Australia’s wildlife is found nowhere else in the world: 87% of our mammals, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs and 45% of our birds are only found in Australia

Image from Tourism Australia and Austrade’s  Tourism Investment in Regional Australia

Image from Tourism Australia and Austrade’s Tourism Investment in Regional Australia

Another uniquely-Australian asset is our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. ‘Australia is a living legacy of spiritual knowledge, custodianship of land, culture, people and the connectedness of all things shared through rituals, art, dance, music, secret stories and journeys created in the Dreamtime – the time when ancestral spirits created the  landforms and all life. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hosts and guides are keen to share their story and give an insight into their culture, which is often delivered with an engaging humour and deeply moving perspective.’

 ‘Taking the time to relax is acknowledged and revered as one of life’s true luxuries.’
Wellness experiences in regional areas take advantage of our clean, green environment and  Indigenous plants with health properties such as tea tree oil, creating a competitive advantage for regional Australia as a destination for wellness tourism, with its convergence of 

  • Lifestyle and Fitness  - detox, rejuvenation and behaviour change
  • Beauty – body and facial treatments
  • Spirituality - contemplation, reflection, meditation and learning. 

In regional areas, it is worth noting that participation sports are a key motivator for visitation throughout the  year and therefore their value to the overall visitor economy should not be understated along with mass participation events which are growing in popularity, such as Tough Mudder, marathons, triathlons and surf boat carnivals.


Read the whole report on general investment opportunities in Regional Australia.

And start dreaming about your regional holiday... 

Kushla GaleComment