Media Release

Regional Australia snubbed by international tourists

  • 21 areas that saw fewer international visitors were all in regional Australia
  • Victoria’s Upper Yarra records sharpest drop in overseas tourist numbers
  • lists top 10 Aussie destinations snubbed by international visitors

AUGUST 16, 2014, SYDNEY – Outback and country Australia have been handed a surprising snub by international tourists in a new investigation by one of Australia’s biggest comparison website

All 21 areas that saw a decline in international visitors in 2013 compared to 2012 were regional locations across Australia. These areas made up 25 percent of the 83 regions (including metropolitan areas) monitored by Tourism Research Australia. has listed the top 10 Australian destinations which saw the biggest decline in popularity by overseas travellers in 2013 from 2012.

The list was compiled by and based on Tourism Research Australia statistics released earlier this year (April 2014).’s list of most snubbed Australian locations by international visitors

DestinationDecline in international visitors
Upper Yarra (VIC)-30%
High Country (VIC)-23%
Bundaberg (QLD)-20%
Bendigo Loddon (VIC)-18%
Macedon (VIC)-18%
Kakadu Arnhem (NT)-17%
Central (NSW)-14%
Ballarat (VIC)-14%
Outback (QLD)-11%
Western Grampians (VIC)-11%

Source: and Tourism Research Australia Statistics: International Visitors to Australia

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at, said she was surprised that so many regional locations fell out of favour by international visitors.

“We have some of the most beautiful and unique destinations in regional Australia, so it’s sad to see that these areas are being neglected by international visitors.

“Australia’s public reception is clearly getting better as more visitors are hitting our shores. International tourist numbers increased by 6 percent from 2012 to 2013, to 5.9 million people visiting Australia last year. However the drop in tourism to many regional areas shows some hesitations do still exist when discovering regional Australia from overseas.

“The results are bad news for tourism operators in those areas on the list, but there are some real winners too. Tasmania was the only Australian State or Territory to not record a drop in international visitors.”

International tourists love our capital cities

All Australian capital cities recorded a spike in visitor numbers over the year, with Adelaide rising the most in popularity. A total of 343,253 overseas tourists visited Adelaide in 2013, up from 299,656 in 2012.

However, Sydney remains the most popular travel destination in Australia, with 2.8 million international visitors recorded in 2013, followed by Melbourne with 1.8 million.

Out of the capital cities, Brisbane and Perth saw the smallest growth in foreign visitor numbers, with a 2 percent rise from the previous year.’s 10 reasons why international visitors should see regional and outback Australia:

  1. You will spot a wild kangaroo
  2. And probably see other native wildlife that you’ve been reading about
  3. Dine at some of the best restaurants in the country
  4. Experience wine country at vineyards which make some of the best wine in the world
  5. Go panning for gold in original towns from the Gold Rush era
  6. Where it’s summer weather all year round up north
  7. Visit some of the world’s natural wonders including the Great Barrier Reef, the 12 Apostles, Uluru and the Blue Mountains
  8. Buy some opals at Coober pedy, South Australia, an underground town and the opal capital of the world
  9. Sunbake on your own private beach
  10. See Australia’s big things like The Big Banana, The Big Pineapple, The Big Merino


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