Insight – travellers that bring most value to visitor economy


There are many ways travellers bring value to our visitor economy but focusing on well-off weekenders may pay dividends in dollar terms.

Forecasts issued late last year indicate that domestic tourism will begin its rebound in 2022. This is due to pent-up demand, increased confidence, and accumulated savings and leave balances.

Once we get through the current Omicron challenge, here’s how the visitor economy can make sure it benefits from the expected upturn.

How tourism operators can grow their market

As tourism operators know, there are 2 ways to grow the market:

  • by increasing the total number of travellers
  • by attracting larger numbers of high-value travellers.

For sustainable growth, however, it may be better to develop experiences that attract high-value travellers. These can provide economic and employment benefits with a smaller environmental and social footprint.

This is according to an analysis of visitor survey data by Tourism Research Australia (TRA). Insights from the National Visitor Survey (NVS) provide valuable guidance for industry and government. This is critical as they work together to revitalise the visitor economy.

Four types of travellers

The NVS places domestic travellers into 132 categories. These range from young, budget-conscious holidaymakers to wealthier retirees visiting friends and family.

They fall into 4 groups if you look at how long they stay and how much they spend:

  • shorter stay/greater spend (SHOGS), who make up 25% of visitors
  • shorter stay/lower spend (SHOLS), who make up 34% of visitors
  • longer stay/greater spend (LOGS), who make up 27% of visitors
  • longer stay/lower spend (LOLS), who make up 15% of visitors.

The most valuable travellers

SHOGS make short but expensive trips and may therefore be more profitable visitors.

An example of these travellers are young, high-income couples. They spend about $950 each on a 3-day trip, or about $315 per day. One in five flies to their destination, and over 60% stay in commercial accommodation.

Once there, they are also more likely to visit local attractions. Markets and wineries are popular experiences.

At the other end of the scale, LOLS make longer trips but spend less. A retiree on a low income, visiting grandchildren will spend about $90 per day. One in ten will fly, and just 25% will stay in commercial accommodation. They are also less likely to visit local attractions.

The other two categories – SHOLS and LOGS – fall somewhere in between. Many SHOLS are visiting friends or relatives, while LOGS are often families on holiday.

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