Regional NSW is attracting more overseas visitors but they’re not hanging around, new research has revealed.
A state government campaign highlighting the appeal of regional and rural areas as tourism destinations is seeing increased numbers of international visitor travelling outside of Sydney.
But according to new data from Tourism Research Australia’s latest international visitor survey, they are failing to check into accommodation houses while they’re there.
The research shows that while Sydney (like tourism powerhouses Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and the Gold Coast) saw an increase in international visitors staying overnight to June 2018, most NSW regions experienced a decrease on 2017 figures – despite many seeing an increase in visitor numbers.
Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW CEO Carol Giuseppi says a lack of infrastructure outside the major centres is hampering tourism development.
“It is disappointing to see the increase in regional visitors has not translated into international visitor night growth in those areas – there is a real need for increased infrastructure investment in the regions to address this,” she said.
The NSW government has set itself an ambitious target of tripling overnight visitor expenditure in regional areas to $25 billion by 2030.
In the latest of a series of measures designed to attract visitors to the regions, it this week unveiled a three-year Food and Wine Tourism Strategy & Action Plan to promote an industry worth $9.2 billion annually to the NSW visitor economy.
Ms Giuseppi paid tribute to the state’s efforts to drive regional tourism and acknowledged the positives of a general increase in tourists heading to regional parts of the state in 2018, despite their seeming reluctance to stay for any length of time.
“What is good to see is that more and more overseas visitors are travelling beyond Sydney to areas like the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Snowy Mountains”, she said.
“This is testament to the hard work of accommodation providers and the wider tourism industry as well as the NSW government and minister Adam Marshall – who set NSW’s first ever regional tourism target to drive more visitors to our regions.”
Three regions bucked the trend and showed an increase in international overnight guests on 2017 figures: The Blue Mountains, Outback NSW and Central NSW.