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Destination NSW: a regional perspective

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014-March 2015 (n=15,913) and April 2015-March 2016 (n=15,074). Base: Australians 14+. Thumbnail image: copyright Andril Slonchak (Flickr Creative Commons)

When asked to nominate the Australian states they’d like to visit on holiday within the next two years, 40.7% of the population name New South Wales as a potential destination. This is a slightly lower proportion than the same time last year, when 41.9% named NSW among their preferred states for a holiday. Upon closer inspection, this decline appears to be due to fewer people being interested in visiting Sydney. Regional destinations are a different story.

This bodes well for Destination NSW’s current push to promote tourism to the state’s regional destinations through six major regional ‘Destination Networks’: Riverina Murray, Southern NSW (including Snowy Mountains and Far South Coast), North Coast (from Mid-Coast to Tweed Heads), Country and Outback, Sydney Surrounds – North (including Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Hunter Valley), and Sydney Surrounds – South (including Southern Highlands, Wollongong and Shoalhaven).

Of these six regions, preference for the Murray Riverina, Southern NSW, North Coast, Sydney Surrounds – North and Sydney Surrounds – South as potential holiday destinations has seen a moderate year-on-year growth, while interest in the Country and Outback region is stable.

NSW destination preference: regional and Sydney, 2015 vs 2016


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014-March 2015 (n=15,913) and April 2015-March 2016 (n=15,074). Base: Australians 14+

Where the Big Spenders want to go

Obviously, a major goal of any regional tourism initiative is to boost local economies by attracting visitors with healthy spending power: those who spend upwards of $200 per person, per night. So which NSW regions interest these high-yield travellers?

Southern NSW tops the list, with 31.7% of Australian holiday-goers who’d like to visit the region spending at least $200 per person per night on their last trip.

Travellers who’d like to holiday on the NSW North Coast are also a high-value group (27.9% of them spent $200+ per night on their last holiday); just ahead of those with a preference for Sydney Surrounds – North (27.2%).

The Murray Riverina (23.3%) is the least likely of the new Destination Networks to be on the radar of big-spending holiday-goers.

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Destination NSW’s new Destination Networks have been developed to grow the state’s regional tourism sector, attracting more visitors and thereby increasing economic activity throughout NSW. And the future looks bright: Roy Morgan Research data shows that more Australians are keen to visit most of these regions than they were this time last year.

“Of course, big-spending visitors are particularly valuable for regional economies, and as described above, the data from Roy Morgan’s Holiday Tracking Study shows that some Destination Networks are especially likely to appeal to this kind of traveller.

“Furthermore, our data makes it possible for tourism operators and destination marketers to pinpoint even more precisely the chances of their region attracting these high-yield visitors and also whether these visitors are more likely to be from intra- or interstate.

“For example, 35.2% of NSW residents who’d like to visit Southern NSW in the near future spent $200+ per person per night on their last holiday compared with 25.5% of holiday-goers from elsewhere in Australia with a preference for the region. This would suggest that industry players in Southern NSW would be wise to develop intrastate-specific marketing campaigns for maximum return."

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Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%