Visitor survey shows backpacker figures slightly down for quarter

Quarterly International Visitor Survey figures show that overall expenditure and the length of stay of international guests have increased apart from in the backpacker market, where numbers have slightly decreased, despite good showings from Victoria, WA and Tasmania. Queensland experienced the biggest drop in backpacker numbers.

Tourism Research Australia’s figures revealed that, overall, Australia’s international visitor arrivals are up 3%, along with spending (+4%) and total number of nights (+4%) for the year ending June 2011.

New Zealand was the largest source of visitors during the period (1,072,955), followed by the United Kingdom (595,554), China (474,607) and USA (434,600). Overall, Chinese visitors spent the most amount of money in Australia, followed by the UK and New Zealand.

However, a backpacker’s average trip expenditure in Australia was $5,242, down $511 on average from last year.

Backpacker numbers matched last year’s figures at 583,000 visitors for the year. In a statement released today, ATEC managing director, Felicia Mariani said:

“The value of the backpacker and youth traveller continues to be under acknowledged. This sector travels widely, accessing regional parts of Australia, they often work here, encourage family and friends to visit, spend longer in the country than holiday makers and spend almost as much per day.

“The average holiday maker spends $2,371 during their visit, staying 25 nights and spending about $95 a day whereas a backpacker will spend $5,242 or $75 a day, but spends 70 nights here – that is just $20 a day less than the regular holiday visitor but they stay almost three times as long.”

Tasmania performed well in terms of backpacker arrivals (+11.1%) as did Victoria (+1.3%) and Western Australia (+1.08%) all outperforming the national average. While backpacker numbers dropped in NSW (-3.5%), Queensland (-10%), South Australia (-11%) and the Northern Territory (-11%).

Of all backpackers, 76% visited New South Wales, 57% visited Queensland and 45% visited Victoria.

The average duration of stay in Australia for backpackers was 70 nights, which is down four nights on last year’s figures.

While they were here, backpackers spent 36% of their nights in a rented house, apartment, flat or unit and 33% in backpacker or hostel accommodation.

0 thoughts on “Visitor survey shows backpacker figures slightly down for quarter

  • September 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

    So 43% of Backpackers didn’t visit Queensland… that’s very interesting. I thought the Great Barrier Reef did it’s own marketing being one of the natural wonders of the world.

    Then again many travellers have asked this year if the reef had been ‘destroyed’ by the cyclone…and yesterday a customer said she hadn’t bothered with Fraser Island as she’d already been to 2 other islands…I believe we need to market Queensland in a way that is simple and clear…its a tropical state with remote hideaways or party towns and some iconic destinations on the way.

    Let’s not leave the ideas to the suits of TQ, but consult the guys on the ground, agents and operators, who have a day to day sense of what is going on.

  • September 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Very true, Alex, but hard to achieve.

    Many is the time over the years where a know-all backpacker has scoffed at my suggestion of visiting Dunk or Magnetic or Fraser Island: “I have seen Australian islands” they have told me, as if I was selling them snake oil.

    My normal counter would be to get them to see how silly their statement was (if they were Swiss, for instance, I`d say “So, I`ve seen mountains in Britain, why would I visit Switzerland to see the Alps?”

    I can say, with all sincerity, that ALL the islands along the east coast of Oz offer different topography, flora and fauna and all have their very own unique aspects and charm. I can understand overlooking this fact when time is a factor but not when ignorance of this is the cause.

    As a race, humankind is still struggling to get it`s collective head around the paradigm of the 24 hour news cycle, instant access and real-time streaming of various types of media, Facebook, Youtube and ever evolving technology breakthroughs and what they mean for society. Reporting of murders/beatings,shark/polar bear attacks, weather events and natural disasters, for instance, can have major impacts on tourism destinations.

    A suggestion I made on here to enlist a star of Home and Away for promoting Oz tourism during it`s broadcast time in Ireland evoked no response, even though any Irishman will confirm it`s popularity in Eire. It`s called “targetted marketing” and its use for every o/s market, new or established, would kick HEAPS of goals for our industry. This is the kind of flexibility Alex and many others would like to see, myself included.

    How about a private brainstorming session in the big week of the October ABIC conference? You can be sure you`ll have enthusiastic lateral thinkers, ALL with plenty of skin in the game, from all over Oz in the one town at the same time – how about it, TA?

  • September 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Well said guys.
    Count me in for the brainstorming sess! ….. do I need to buy a suit for that?

  • September 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Yep, and you need an I-phone 4 or the latest Blackberry, an I-pad and one of those things you stick in your ear that makes you look like you`re having a conversation with an imaginary friend every time you start babbling away. De rigueur, Bradzilla.


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