Sydney, June 30 (IANS) New South Wales (NSW) has resumed its position as Australia's top destination for domestic and international travellers since the lifting of Covid-19 border restrictions, according to the latest figures.
The National and International Visitor Survey results published by the Tourism Research Australia (TRA) showed that in the 12 months ending in March, NSW welcomed 66.4 million domestic overnight and day-trip visitors, reports Xinhua news agency.
The number of international visitors coming to NSW soared to 251,200, representing a six-fold increase over the same period during the lockdowns and border closures.
Those foreign visitors stayed a total of 15.6 million nights, a 444 per cent rise, and spent A$1.5 billion ($1.03 billion), an increase of 511 per cent.
The state capital of Sydney had a 22 per cent rise in domestic overnight visitors who spent A$4.7 billion, an increase of 70 per cent.
NSW Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Tourism and Sport, and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the buoyant results indicated the state government's 'recovery roadmap' from Covid-19 was working particularly well in the state's rural regions which had languished throughout the pandemic.
The report found that 31 per cent of the nation's domestic overnight visitors had stayed in regional NSW.
'The last two years have been challenging for businesses in the visitor economy but they have also inspired more Australians to see their own backyard, with NSW the preferred destination of choice due to its unique and diverse tourism offerings,' Ayres said.
Ayres said that outside of the state capitals such as Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, the North Coast region in NSW was the nation's most visited destination for domestic overnight visitors.
The report noted that the highest number of international visitors to NSW were from New Zealand (44,800), followed by the the UK (36,600) and the US (28,400).
China remained the top country for visitor spending in NSW followed by India and the UK.
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