1 January 2024

Canberra's tourism almost back to pre-COVID levels, Floriade pulls its weight once again

| Claire Fenwicke
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Floriade 2023

Floriade remains a favourite attraction for visitors. Photo: James Coleman.

The ACT’s tourism industry continues to bounce back from the pandemic, recording its highest visitor expenditure ever.

According to the latest figures from Tourism Research Australia, visitors spent $3.66 billion in Canberra in the year ending September 2023, surpassing the year ending June 2023 record high by $230 million.

This is the highest visitor expenditure in a 12-month period in the ACT.

The Territory also welcomed 5.68 million visitors, which is the fourth highest result ever recorded in a 12-month period.

This means total visitor numbers are back to 93 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

Meanwhile the number of international visitors is also continuing to recover, now sitting at 63 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

International visitors were mainly from the United Kingdom (13 per cent), India (12 per cent), China (10 per cent), New Zealand and the United States (both 9 per cent).

They were mainly here for holidays or visiting friends and relatives.

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Domestic overnight visitors have been booking more nights at Canberra hotels with the largest increase coming from regional Victoria.

On average overnight visitors stayed three nights in the city.

Unsurprisingly NSW remains the main source of domestic visitors to the ACT.

Most people came here to visit friends and family (1.2 million), while another 900,000 were here on business and 800,000 for holidays.

Yet again Floriade was the major drawcard for out-of-towners, attracting 433,271 attendees.

This resulted in generating $38 million in economic activity for the Territory.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr was especially pleased with the results.

“[These figures] show tourism to Canberra, and visitor expenditure in our city, is booming and making an even greater contribution to the ACT economy,” he said.

It’s hoped Canberra businesses can take advantage in the continued uptick in visitors through the next round of the government’s Tourism Product Development Fund (formerly known as the COVID Safe Tourism Co-Investment Program).

$500,000 in funding is available and applications will close on 12 February 2024.

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