The Murray Tourism Industry Barometer aims to identify emerging issues or trends impacting tourism businesses and track industry performance.
The 2018-19 barometer was conducted via online survey between 13 March and 31 May 2019 with 80 valid survey responses.
The key findings from the 2018-19 barometer were:
- Businesses have seen the strongest growth in visitors from Melbourne over the past five years.
- Growth in the international market in 2018-19 was consistent with the previous year.
- Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR), event visitors and families were identified as the most important markets for the region.
- 43% of businesses had improved turnover in 2018-19 compared to the previous year.
- Over half of businesses were optimistic about the future performance of their business.
- Water issues negatively impacted over half of businesses in 2018-19. Water issues included algae, drought and negative media publicity relating to water levels.
- Reliable access to high-speed internet and mobile coverage blackspots continue to impede tourism businesses in the region.
- Competition from Airbnb, online travel agents (OTAs) and drought negatively impacted business performance during 2018-19.
- Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR), event visitors and families were identified as the most important markets for the region. The importance of Grey Nomads increased in 2018-19.
- Nearly 60% of businesses reported international tourists as being ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for the region.
- The largest barriers to business growth were reputation as a tourist destination, seasonality, increasing operating costs and lack of attractions.
- The biggest challenge regarding attracting and retaining staff were finding staff with the right skills and the seasonality of work in the industry.
- Unexpected events impacting the industry including the summer heatwave, drought and local infrastructure issues may have lead to higher variability in business performance during 2018.
- There was strong interest in social media (Facebook + Instagram) and content marketing as industry training topics.
- Visitor information centres (VICs) were seen to make a positive contribution to the visitor economy, supporting tourism businesses was via sharing their stories, brochures and maps.
These findings will inform the development of our future advocacy, industry development and marketing programs.