Australian tourists are hitting Canberra in record numbers and splashing more cash than ever before, according to Tourism Research Australia’s annual survey.
Domestic visitor numbers climbed 13 percent in 2016 and the total spending figure hit $1.5 billion — up almost 10 percent year-on-year.
The growth figures compare favourably to the national average of 4 percent over the same period.
Weekly NewsletterEvery Thursday afternoon, we package up the most-read and trending RiotACT stories of the past seven days and deliver straight to your inbox..
The major growth area was holidays, which encompasses both overnight visits, where people stay the night while commuting longer distances, as well as longer stays like family holidays.
Business tourism was the second largest contributing factor, growing at 15 per cent and betraying Canberra’s image as a public servants’ town.
The startling growth in domestic tourism owes in large part to the ACT government’s marketing campaign, said a spokesperson from the Chief Minister’s office. Strong efforts have been made by the government to boost tourism, both national and international. These efforts have enjoyed significant and tripartisan support.
Growth also owes to the way in which Canberra is changing—away from a town in which the public sector is the majority employer and towards a small city in which the public sector is just a major employer.
As the city has changed, Australians from interstate have become more aware of Canberra as a tourist destination.
“The older perception of Canberra as a small public service town where politicians meet is changing,” the spokesperson said.
“Canberra is not like that anymore. We’re a vibrant medium-sized city and there is plenty to do here for people who aren’t public servants.”