Arts and creativity can revitalise regional tourism and support local economies

New research released by the Australia Council for the Arts shows arts experiences are a key driver for tourism, particularly to regional Australia.

Arts and creativity can revitalise regional tourism and support local economies


Domestic Arts Tourism: Connecting the Country draws on Tourism Research Australia data and additional resources to provide insights into the behaviour of people travelling within Australia.

Arts tourists are high value tourists: they travel further, stay longer and spend more than domestic tourists overall.

“This research reveals Australians’ willingness to travel for the arts and how arts and creativity are significant tourism drivers,” said the Australia Council’s Executive Director of Strategic Development and Advocacy, Dr Wendy Were.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the report shows that the arts are strengthening regional tourism and supporting local economies.

“Our vibrant creative sector is increasingly a drawcard for many Australians. Whether taking daytrips to visit performances, workshops and exhibitions in their own regions, or heading further afield to attend larger festivals and events, the research shows Australians travelling to take part in the arts travel further, stay longer and spend more than other tourists,” Minister Fletcher said.

“The research also reports that First Nations arts tourism is increasing, particularly in regional Australia and the Northern Territory. It shows that tourists who went on overnight trips to experience First Nations art spent an average of $1,558 per visit. This is helping Indigenous Australians share their rich history and culture, and supports regional and remote communities and economies.”

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the report puts a spotlight on the importance of art and cultural attractions and the role they play in supporting tourism communities around the country.

“Vibrant cultural attractions form the centrepiece of Australia’s tourism offerings for both domestic and international visitors.

“Cultural tourism is a significant drawcard, growing 23 per cent globally over the past five years and driving strong domestic visitation with Australians taking more that 25 million daytrips and overnight trips in 2018.

“Opportunities created by the growing demand for authentic Indigenous Australian cultural experiences are a reason why our government is investing $40 million to support the development of more Indigenous owned tourism businesses.”

The report provides a timely reminder of the role creativity and tourism can play in rebuilding and recovery from disaster by supporting local economies.

Together with the Australia Council’s previous report International Arts Tourism: Connecting cultures, the latest research highlights the significance of arts and creativity for Australia’s tourism strategies and broader economy.

Key Insights

  • Domestic travellers to destinations in regional Australia are most likely to engage with the arts during their trips.
  • In 2018, the average length of stay for an arts overnight trip was five nights compared to the average of three and a half nights spent away from home onany overnight trip.
  • The average amount spent on an overnight arts trip was $1,068, nearly $400 more than the overall average overnight spend of $685.
  • Capital cities are key tourism regions for performing arts – predominantly Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
  • Regional destinations including Capital Country (NSW), Southern Queensland Country (QLD), Bendigo Loddon (VIC) and Australia's South West (WA) are among the top arts tourism destinations.
  • First Nations arts tourism is on the rise, reflecting Australians’ strong and growing interest in engaging with First Nations arts and culture.