The Hemsworth effect: more Americans but less dollars
ALTHOUGH northern NSW has benefited from a surge in visitors coming to Australia from the USA - bringing in a record $44.6 billion - that hasn't equated to a financial bonanza for the region, according to the latest International Visitor Survey results and National Visitor Survey results.
Byron Bay resident and actor Chris Hemsworth starred in the latest Dundee tourism campaign aimed at luring visitors from the USA, a campaign that last year made people believe a new Crocodile Dundee movie was being produced.
The NSW North Coast received an extra 2000 USA visitors between the years ending June 2018 and June 2019.
Despite this trend, the Americans spent $2m less during their visits in the same period, from $23m to $21m.
The North Coast of NSW is becoming a hotspot for international tourists, with an extra 15,000 visitors flocking to the region last year.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Simon Birmingham, said the influx of visitors corresponds to the area between Tweed and Forster, but a great number of them spend some time on the Northern Rivers.
"Approximately 60 per cent of international visitors to the North Coast region had an overnight stay in Byron Bay," he said.
"Also, approximately 14 per cent of all domestic overnight visitors had an overnight stay in Byron Bay.
"It's encouraging to see international travellers are looking beyond Sydney and the Central Coast and are getting a taste of the wide-variety of unique tourism experiences on offer throughout this region."
The minister said the NSW North Coast has huge potential for further growth.
"And that's why the Morrison Government is delivering $7.5 million in funding through our National Tourism Icons package to help deliver the Northern Rivers Rail Trail," he said.
"Once up and running, the Rail Trail will be an iconic, world-class, nature-based tourism experience, bringing thousands more interstate and international visitors into towns such as Byron Bay, injecting millions into the visitor economy."