Regional NSW was Australia’s favourite regional holiday destination in the year ending March 2024, attracting 66 million domestic visitors.

The latest data from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) shows regional NSW also recorded the highest year-on-year growth in regional Australia during the period and experienced the best post-pandemic recovery.

Domestic overnight visitor numbers to regional NSW in the year ending March 2024 were the second highest on record at 27.1 million.

When compared with the closest corresponding period pre-pandemic (year ending March 2020), visitation was up 4.9 per cent. The top three regions were the Hunter at 114.7 per cent of March 2020 results, the South Coast at 113.2 per cent and New England North West at 112.3 per cent.

Domestic overnight visitor growth was up 3.3 per cent year on year for regional NSW. New England North West had the strongest growth (up 16.5 per cent), followed by the Central Coast (11.2 per cent).

Destination NSW Acting CEO Ian Maltman said: “These results confirm regional NSW is leading post-pandemic visitor economy rebound in regional Australia.

“Destination NSW has a laser focus on ensuring the visitor economy continues to grow in regional NSW through its capability-building NSW First industry program, marketing initiatives and vibrant events calendar.”

“NSW is home to Australia’s most diverse landscapes - visitors can drive from the Snowys to the Sapphire Coast in a few hours, experience the vastly different climates of Byron Bay and Broken Hill, the sandstone cliffs of the Blue Mountains to the volcanic rock of The Warrumbungles.

“In addition to its spectacular geography, regional NSW is also home to some of Australia’s most iconic events, ranging from the Tamworth Country Music Festival to the Narooma Oyster Festival and the world’s biggest ute muster in Deniliquin.

“This collision of diverse natural wonders and vibrant culture energises visitors and ensures they return over and over again.”

Regional NSW was also the domestic daytrip capital of Australia in the year ending March 2024, recording 38.9 million domestic daytrips, 84.8 per cent of March 2020 levels.

The top destination for domestic daytrips were the Hunter, which welcomed 7.27 million trips (up 5.3 per cent) and the North Coast, which welcomed 7.25 million trips (up 17.6 per cent).

The North Coast and the Hunter were the top destinations for international visitors to NSW, with 275,400 visits and 156,800 visits respectively.

Regional NSW received 694,400 international visitors who stayed 15.3 million nights and spent an estimated $1.1 billion.

The largest source market for visitors to regional NSW was the United Kingdom (18 per cent), while the fastest-growing source markets for international visitors to regional NSW were India (up 15.8 per cent), the Netherlands (up 4.1 per cent) and Indonesia (up 116.5 per cent).

For more information visit Tourism Research Australia.