Tourism Research Australia (TRA) has release December 2015 quarter figures that reveal visitation to the Snowy Mountains has increased by just over 15% on the corresponding period last year.
TRA, part of Austrade, issues quarterly results determined by findings from the National Visitor Survey that tracks travel by Australians over 15 years of age. Destination NSW uses the TRA findings to determine regional tourism trends.
The new TRA findings show that from 1 September to 31 December 2015, close to 100,000 additional visitors (744,000 in total up from 645,000) came to the Snowy Mountains region staying 2,470,000 nights spending $421 million.
“These figures are very encouraging and such a spike corresponds with the results that we’ve seen in our two year spring, summer and autumn (SSA) marketing campaign,” said Neil Thew, Executive Officer for Tourism Snowy Mountains (TSM).
‘’I’m usually a bit sceptical of figures that are extrapolated from a survey, however these results support other measures in the region that show visitation has increased significantly in recent years,'' said Mr Thew.
The TRA figures virtually match vehicle count data collected by Cooma-Monaro Shire Council that reveal from 2013 to 2015 during the warmer SSA months, traffic flows into and from Cooma increased by 14%.
The positive TRA results are further supported by visitation numbers to the Kosciuszko National Park (KNP) that have seen a 21.8% increase in paying customers since 2010 (inclusion of non-paying visitors would likely extend this figure even further).
Interestingly, TRA figures do not measure those people booking their accommodation via online portals such as Airbnb, nor do they take into account the emergence of free camping in the data. Potentially the visitation figure would be substantially higher given the large number of rentable privately owned properties and free campaign sites that are available around the region and in the KNP.
A good example of how the figures could be even better is that from September 2015, TSM’s booking portal partnership with Hotels Combined has seen 1,782 site visits generating 540 referrals to properties at a conversion rate of 30% meaning 162 bookings that would not have been captured in the TRA data. That’s only one of many online booking opportunities available now to consumers.
"Regardless of this, the TRA December quarter visitation figures are a very positive sign for the region as we head into our busy Easter period,'' concluded Thew.
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