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Phillip Island Visitation growth in spend and overnight stays

Destination Phillip Island has welcomed the latest visitor survey information for January to December 2022.

The data from Tourism Research Australia’s National Visitor Survey (NVS) for 2022 indicate strong recovery in expenditure to pre-pandemic levels in the Phillip Island/Bass Coast Visitor Economy. The research shows visitors are staying longer and spending more. Daytrip visitation in the region has decreased (-36%) compared to pre-pandemic levels, while tourism spend (+36%) and visitor nights have increased (+18%) to above levels reached in the year ending 2019.

In 2016, The Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035 outlined a strategic action for the region to be established as a highly desirable destination, attracting visitors that are willing to spend more per day on high-quality accommodation and quality experiences and encourage repeat visitation. By increasing the investment in promotion and marketing of the Phillip Island destination to targeted markets, promoting the many experiences and encouraging overnight stays, this goal is becoming realised.

The creation and roll out of the Phillip Island 101 kilometre squared campaign to interstate and intrastate markets last year continues to deliver promotion of the region for multi night stays compared to day trip itineraries.

Destination Phillip Island (DPI) is currently progressing the development of a ten-year Destination Management Plan (DMP) for the region and a consultant will be appointed by 30 April. The work will build upon work completed in 2016 and will establish a critical strategic roadmap for the sustainable growth and development of the destination, that balances the economic, social and environmental priorities of the region in a post-pandemic landscape.

While the December 2022 data shows a substantial increase in tourism spend (+36%) to $753m across the region and increase in length of stay (+18%), overall our visitation numbers have not fully recovered remaining below pre-pandemic levels (-24%).

To support low season growth, significant development of three key low season events hopes to see an increase of visitation in both domestic and international markets. The Island Whale Festival, Phillip Island Festival of Stories and Tidal Seafood Festival San Remo have had strategic overhaul to become bigger and better in 2023 and beyond, and drive low season growth in the region’s visitor economy.

Staffing and housing shortages are still impacting the industry’s ability to operate at full capacity which in turn has impact on the levels of visitation the region can service. Destination Phillip Island are supporting the growth and development of the visitor economy through their Industry Strengthening Program providing training and development to industry.

Collaboration with other Victorian regions will see an upcoming investment in the Tourism Jobs Bank smartphone application. The app aims to create a centralised approach to recruitment across the Phillip Island and Bass Coast tourism industry and to improve capability to attract, recruit and retain quality workforce with required skillsets.

Tourism growth across the state is expected to strengthen further as supply-side issues are slowly resolved, particularly in terms of aviation capacity, and the recovery of international tourism builds pace. Strong pent-up demand to travel continues to buoy the sector, despite signs of weakness in other areas of the economy.

For the purposes of this research, the Phillip Island region was defined as French Island, Phillip Island and Bass Coast (Wonthaggi to Inverloch). No data was collected for international visitation for the region as this research has not yet recommenced. Key visitor economy metrics for visitation to Phillip Island in the year ending December 2022 are outlined below.

  • Total tourism spend in Phillip Island/Bass Coast was $753m in the year ending December 2022, well ahead of pre-pandemic levels (+36%) in the year ending December 2019 and compared to the previous year ending December 2021 (+42%).
  • There were 2.1m domestic visitors to Phillip Island in the year ending December 2022, a small increase compared to the year ending December 2021 (+3%). However, this number remains below the pre-covid number of visitors in the year ending December 2019 (-24%).

Domestic Overnight Visitors

  • Domestic overnight spend in Phillip Island has far exceeded pre-pandemic levels with a 52% increase to $631m in the year ending December 2022. This is a year-on-year increase of 45% compared to the year ending December 2021. Overnight visitors spent an average of $561 per visitor, or $183 per night.
  • There were 1.1m domestic overnight visitors to Phillip Island in the year ending December 2022. This was up 4% on the December 2019 pre-pandemic level and an increase of 35% on the December 2021 number.
  • Visitors stayed a total of 3.4 million nights in Phillip Island with each overnight visitor spending an average of 3.1 nights in the region, a 23% increase year-on-year and 18% increase from pre-pandemic levels in the year ending December 2019.

Domestic Daytrip Visitors

  • There were 968,000 domestic daytrip visitors to Phillip Island in the year ending December 2022. This is a decrease in domestic daytrip numbers as compared to both the year ending December 2019 (-36%) and the year ending December 2021 (-20%).
  • Domestic daytrip spend totalled $121m, equating to $125 spent per domestic day trip visitor. This is a 30% increase in daytrip expenditure on the year ending December 2022, but a 11% decrease as compared to pre-pandemic levels in the year ending December 2019.

Data Source: Tourism Research Australia

Released April 2023

Research produced by the Tourism and Events Research Unit, DJSIR, April 2023.

Further findings and information can be found online here

Regional tourism statistics for domestic and international markets

The State Government Tourism, Events and Visitor Economy Branch regularly collates and publishes visitation research and statistics.

Further information

Additional visitation and marketing research is available on the Tourism Australia and Visit Victoria pages

Tourism Australia - Future of Demand Research

The free to download Future of Demand research has been designed to support Australia’s tourism industry to make decisions about where demand exists, and ways to maximise the opportunities.

With so much change in the tourism category over the past two years, this research is very timely. It has been designed to support Australia’s tourism industry, across its many facets, to make decisions about where demand exists and ways to maximise the opportunities in this critical period of recovery.

Most tourism businesses are either sole traders or have a small team. Recognising the lean nature of many tourism businesses, we have endeavoured to provide a high level of insights across all sectors. As a result, the nature and scope of this research is quite complex as we have endeavoured to deliver as much richness as possible. The research covers 143 experiences across 20 markets and four target audiences: the High Yielding Traveller, Premium, Working Holiday Makers, and a more generic Long Stay audience.  There were also three deep dive sections covering Sustainable travel, Indigenous insights, and Accessible Travel.