The arts is a key driver for domestic tourism in Australia, a new report by the Australia Council for the Arts has found. The study is a follow up to the Australia Council’s International Arts Tourism: Connecting cultures, which revealed an increase in international arts tourism to Australia.

Big Red BashThe Big Red Bash Festival in Birdsville, on the edge of the Simpson Desert in Outback Queensland. Photo © Matt Williams

According to the report, Domestic Arts Tourism: Connecting the Country, Australians took 12.3 million daytrips and 13.4 million overnight trips within Australia that included arts activities in 2018 – an increase of 14 percent and 20 percent respectively since 2014 – with increases found across visiting museums and art galleries, attending performing arts, visiting art or craft workshops or studios, attending festivals, and experiencing First Nations arts and craft. The report also flagged an increasing interest in First Nations arts tourism.

The study also found that arts tourists are likely to stay longer and spend more than domestic tourists overall, and that domestic tourists are more likely to engage with the arts than sports events, amusement parks or wineries (though the arts fall behind going to the beach, sightseeing and shopping). According to the Australia Council, the average length of stay for an arts overnight trip in 2018 was five nights compared to the average of three and a half nights, while the average amount spent on an overnight arts trip was $1,068, nearly $400 more than the overall average overnight spend of $685.

“This research reveals Australians’ willingness to travel for the arts and how arts and creativity are significant tourism drivers,” said the Australia Council’s Executive Director of Strategic Development and Advocacy, Dr Wendy Were. “With so many of our regional communities devastated during the recent bushfires, it provides insights into the vital role that arts and culture can play in rebuilding and recovery through supporting local economies and strengthening regional communities.”


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