Australian tourism is a behemoth of an industry, recording $116.7 billion in visitor spend for the year 2015-16, and the caravanning and camping sector – the little Aussie battler if you will – is holding its own, and more. Caravanning and Camping is ingrained in the fabric of the Australian tourism industry since the earliest days and now outperforms other commercial accommodation types today.
Tourism Research Australia has released its annual State of the Industry report for 2015-16 and the numbers are showing growth all round, for both international and domestic visitors.
The 2015-16 period recorded 7.2 million international visitors, of which 37% ventured out of the capital cities and into regional areas, where caravanning and camping has a stronghold. This represents an increase of 300,000 visitors when compared to the previous year.
Caravan Parks had the second highest length of stay within commercial accommodation types for international visitors, recorded at 15.1 nights with hostels in front at 21.2 nights. Although hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments continued to be the most commonly chosen form of accommodation for visitors, it was mostly short stay and business visitors making up the numbers, meaning the length of stay for this type was well behind caravan parks.
In terms of domestic travel, more Aussies continue to choose a holiday at home with 88.9 million domestic overnight visitors in this period, representing growth of 7%. Caravan parks and commercial camping grounds saw the largest increase in domestic nights out of all commercial accommodation types, up 8.9% to 31.8 million.
Overnight domestic travellers increased their trips to all states and territories. Interestingly, most domestic travellers’ trips were intrastate, accounting for 69% of trips overall. So, our holidays at home are getting even closer to home! However, interstate travel is growing faster than that of same-state travel, indicating discovering more of our own big island is on more and more bucket lists.
Stuart Lamont of Caravan Industry Association of Australia said, “Caravanning and camping is foundational to regional tourism economies as the numbers show. Government commitment to regional tourism infrastructure is needed more than ever to ensure the many local communities of Australia’s regions can continue to benefit from our strong tourism industry”.