Surprising NSW spots where tourists splashed $20b
TOURISM in NSW has entered a golden era with the annual spend by domestic tourists smashing through the $20 billion mark.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal the number of visitors from other states and intrastate travellers in NSW is the highest on record, driving a 13 per cent jump in tourism revenue in just one year.
Exclusive data compiled by Tourism Research Australia showed the number of domestic overnight visitors in NSW jumped 8.4 per cent to 33.6 million for the year ending September 2018. The vast majority, 22.2 million, were interstate travellers,
And regional NSW enjoyed its highest number of both international and domestic overnight visitors on record, up 4.3 per cent and 4 per cent respectively, according to the latest National and International Visitor Survey results.
This was driven by massive growth in locations such as the Snowy Mountains, which experienced a 20 per cent rise in the number of overseas visitors, and the Central Coast, which enjoyed a 19 per cent increase.
Industry experts say volatility in the Australian dollar and regional tourism campaigns led by the NSW government have made many families eager to explore their own backyard.
"Whenever the Australian dollar is not performing well from an international exchange perspective it does give people pause about going overseas," said Margy Osmond, the chief executive officer of the Tourism & Transport Forum.
Ms Osmond said the Snowy Mountains was now "as much now a summer location as it is a winter location" due to its range of outdoor activities including mountain biking and bushwalking.
It has also featured prominently in overseas marketing campaigns with the NSW government launching a $100,000 campaign in January last year.
NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall said the impressive figures were "turbocharging our economy, generating jobs and driving investment in local communities".
"Domestically, we welcomed 33.6 million overnight visitors who stayed 105.1 million nights and for the first time ever, these visitors spent more than $20 billion," he said. "The results speak to the broad appeal of NSW; we really do have something for everyone."
Wamberal resident Elise Chandler, 18, said she wasn't surprised the Central Coast was becoming more popular with tourists.
"It's got great weather … and it's so close to Sydney so you can still go to the city but you don't have all the crowds," she said.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the figures showed travellers were "thinking outside the box and moving beyond the city to explore more regional areas such as the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, the Snowy Mountains and the Murray".
The "Capital Country" area around Canberra had the biggest increase in domestic visits, up 22 per cent.
NSW also dominated other states with a 51 per cent share of the international visitor market to Australia.
The state received 4.3 million overseas visitors who stayed 95.5 million nights and spent $10.6 billion. NSW attracted 1.3 more visitors than Victoria and 1.6 million more than Queensland.