During the year that publisher Lonely Planet named Canberra the third best city in the world to visit the capital recorded record numbers of both Australian and international visitors.
The city the publisher dubbed ‘criminally overlooked’ welcomed a combined total of 3.041 million overnight visitors to the capital, contributing $2.37 billion to the ACT economy – a jump of $249 million compared to the same time last year.
Tourism Research Australia data released last week shows 2,792,000 Australian and 249,418 overnight international visitors came to the capital for the year ending September 2018. Percentage increases were 3.1 and 9.4 per cent respectively.
Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey released on 9 January 2019 indicated money spent by our international visitors increased by 17.9 per cent to $645 million, well ahead of the national average of 5.2 per cent. Spend by Australians also increased, up 9.6 per cent to $1.73 billion for the same period.
VisitCanberra Director Jonathan Kobus said ongoing strong performance from the Visiting Friends and Relatives sector combined with record breaking visitation from the business sector drove growth in domestic numbers. While Sydney and regional NSW visitors make up the majority of visitors, there has been growth in the Victorian and Queensland markets likely connected to the commencement of low cost domestic carriers.
Fourteen international flights per week now arrive at Canberra Airport following Singapore Airlines’ move to daily flights from 1 May and Qatar Airways’ daily flights since February this year. The ACT Government continues to proactively market the destination to international visitors through VisitCanberra’s program of activities including travel trade events, travel trade and media engagement and cooperative campaigns with online travel agents and Singapore Airlines.
China retains the number one source market (19.6 per cent), followed by the USA (9.0 per cent), United Kingdom (8.4 per cent), New Zealand (8.0 per cent), India (5.3 per cent) and Germany (4.6 per cent).
The ACT tourism industry is on track to meet its goal of growing the ACT’s overnight visitor expenditure to $2.5 billion by 2020 and now sits at $2.26 billion.