Tourists spent a whopping $113.4 billion in Australia last year as more travellers are heading to the bush or regional coastal towns for their holidays, according to the latest International Visitor and National Visitor Survey results.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said it was encouraging to see that more and more of the record 8.4 million international travellers who flocked to Australia to the year ending September 2018 were heading to regional destinations.

“Australia’s tourism industry continues to see strong growth and our regions are starting to reap the benefits,” Minister Birmingham said.

“These latest results show 2.84 million international travellers chose to travel beyond our capital cities and spent time in the bush, at the coast or even in the outback.

”This is great news for regional towns around Australia and it’s also terrific to see travellers moving off the beaten track.

“This is exactly why 80 per cent of Tourism Australia’s current campaigns,feature tourism experiences outside of our capital cities.

“For example, Tourism Australia’s Undiscover Australia campaign encourages travellers from South and South-East Asia to experience the more unusual, unfamiliar and unexpected destinations on offer around our country such as swimming with whale sharks on WA’s Ningaloo reef.

“Our government continues to deliver record funding to Tourism Australia for cutting-edge campaigns such as Undiscover and Dundee, and these latest results demonstrate how these campaigns are helping to lure more tourists down under.

“Whilst we’re still seeing strong numbers in the major cities, our current focus is getting travellers to stay an extra few days and get a taste for the rest of Australia.

“With forty-three cents in every tourism dollar is spent in regional Australia, every single dollar makes a big difference to small businesses and local communities.

“We know tourism is a major industry for many regional areas, and that’s why through our Building Better Regions Fund we’ve set aside up to $45 million for tourism infrastructure projects so local communities in regional areas can seize on local tourism opportunities.

“Regional destinations also continue to be popular for Aussies with domestic spending in regional Australia increasing 10 per cent to $36.2 billion during the year.

“More and more Australians are turning to nature for their holidays, whether it be kayaking near Cradle Mountain in Tassie, cycling in the Blue Mountains in NSW or bushwalking in the Bungle Bungle Range in WA.”

Domestic visitors spent a record $70.3 billion to the year ending September 2018 in Australia on tourism, a 10 per cent increase, whilst international visitors are also spending record amounts with spending up 5 per cent to $43.2 billion.

“More Aussies holidaying in our own backyard teamed with this record spending is a great boost for Australian businesses and helps contribute to a stronger economy,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With 1 in 13 Australians already employed in the tourism industry, these strong results will only help to create more jobs for Australians.”

China continues to be the number country for visitors, with numbers up 8 per cent to 1.3 million. Visitors from India increased by 20 per cent to 324,000, and there was good growth in the number of arrivals from Japan, up 6 per cent to 419,000.

The latest International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey results are available at: www.tra.gov.au.

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