NEW data from Tourism Research Australia shows that overnight visitor spend for the 2022 December quarter rose by 34% above the pre-pandemic level, reaching a healthy $27.5 billion.
The spend recovery was largely driven by holiday trips, which was up 47%, followed by visiting friends and relatives (up 31%) and business trips (up 19%). Travellers spent more on accommodation, which gained 49% on the pre-COVID level, as well as airfares (up 34%) and food and drink (up 27%).
While all states and territories saw a rise in overnight visitor spend, Queensland enjoyed the strongest results, rising 43% for the year ending December 2022 compared to the equivalent pre-pandemic period. New South Wales claimed second position, recording a 20% increase, followed by Victoria, which saw a growth of 19%.
Interestingly, while overnight visitor spend skyrocketed, the number of overnight trips and nights away were down on the pre-pandemic level, falling by 6% and 5% respectively for the 2022 December quarter.
The National Visitor Survey results also revealed that not only are travellers spending more, they are also staying longer. Compared to 2019, the number of three- to four-night holiday trips increased by 9%, five- to seven-night trips increased by 14%, and trips longer than eight nights rose by 13%. Conversely, shorter trips that were one- to two-nights in length decreased by 5%.