Photo: Tourism Australia

Growing international tourism to Australian wineries

Market Bulletin | Issue 93
Photo: Tourism Australia
06 Feb 2018
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Yesterday, Tourism Australia unveiled its $36 million USA marketing campaign to an audience of more than 100 million people during the ‘Super Bowl’.

The campaign, backed by $1.5 million from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package), initially gives the appearance of a film trailer for a new Crocodile Dundee movie Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home, before building into a spectacular showcase for Australian tourism. Featuring a scene at a winery, the ad stars Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride drinking Australian wine and praising its quality.

So why the focus on the USA?

2017 was a year full of positive steps forward for the Australian wine sector and, according to Tourism Research Australia, international visits grew by 7 per cent to 8.7 million (in the year ended September 2017). These visitors spent a total of $41.2 billion in Australia, up 6 per cent from the year before.

Source: Tourism Research Australia

The number of international visitors to Australian wineries surpassed 1 million during 2017, growing by 3 per cent, on track with the 10-year average growth rate. The total expenditure in Australia by these visitors grew by 7 per cent to $5.1 billion.

Figure 1: International visitors to Australian wineries over time

Source: Tourism Research Australia

The top three countries of origin for international visitors to wineries are China, the United Kingdom (UK) and the USA. Chinese tourists visiting wineries spent $1.4 billion in Australia during their stay, up 28 per cent from 2016. Food, drink and accommodation took a 35 per cent value share of their expenditure.

Figure 2: Number of international visitors to wineries by country share

Source: Tourism Research Australia

In contrast, expenditure by visitors to wineries from the UK decreased by 3 per cent to $614 million. Driving this decrease is the amount of money spent on shopping during their stay, down 32 per cent to $46 million.

However, expenditure by tourists from the USA is growing at encouraging rates. American visitors to wineries spent $413 million in Australia in the year ended September 2017, up 17 per cent from the previous year. Money spent on food, drink and accommodation increased by 15 per cent to $213 million, which is over 50 per cent of their total expenditure.

Figure 3: Visitors to wineries from the USA, share of spending by category

Source: Tourism Research Australia

We know that Americans (as illustrated in Figure 4) consider Australia a desirable and fashionable place to visit and 27 per cent of Americans say they have considered travelling to Australia in the next 4 years. However, this is not translating to visits. Australia is under indexing compared to its competitors; we are fifth on the list of countries that Americans intend to visit in the next 2 years, but only 11th when it comes to actual visits.

In spite of this, when tourists from the USA have visited Australia, 78 per cent are likely to recommend it as a holiday destination to a family member or friend, making it the most promoted destination by American tourists.

Figure 4: American views on Australia as a holiday destination

Source: Tourism Australia

The Tourism Australia campaign is designed to grow the USA market from $4 billion to $6 billion over the next 3 years, culminating in an annual incremental increase of $860 million for the year 2020. The campaign can be followed at Australia.com.