Study: Arts a bigger attraction for international visitors than wineries, casinos or sport
Australia is increasingly becoming a tourist destination for its arts offerings, says a report released this morning by the Australia Council for the Arts – and First Australian arts is a huge part of the draw.
Of the 8 million international tourists in 2017, 43% were more likely to engage with the arts, according to International Arts Tourism: Connecting Cultures.
This was a far bigger draw than to visit wineries (13%), casinos (12%) or attend organised sporting events (6%).
Arts tourist numbers grew by 47% between 2013 and 2017, a higher growth rate than for international tourist numbers overall (37%).
More than one million attended festivals, fairs and cultural events in 2017, an increase of 61% since 2013.
But the most popular arts-themed activity was to visit museums and galleries, which drew more than 2.5 million visitors in 2017.
The five countries making up the largest numbers of international arts tourists in 2017 were China, the UK, the USA, New Zealand and Japan.
Total numbers of arts tourists from Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, Europe, North America and South America have grown year on year since 2008.
The biggest group (48%) of arts tourists were from Asia– and within this group, the largest single-country market was China, with almost 620,000 arts tourists from there in 2017.
Arts tourists were fascinated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, with one in four arts tourists engaging during their stay.
The International Arts Tourism: Connecting Cultures report noted that arts tourists tend to stay longer in Australia.
They are also more likely to get out of the East Coast cities and head for regional locations, with the Northern Territory high on this list.
Australia Council executive director for strategic development and advocacy, Dr Wendy Were, said the research highlights the power of the arts in shaping international perceptions of Australia.
“The arts provide an important point of connection,” she opines.
“We know that international visitors are drawn to Australia’s unique First Nations arts and cultures, and are connected to us through the extraordinary diaspora who have made Australia their home.”
She added, “The arts are a highly influential and powerful tool for building national identity and for sharing Australian culture, stories and perspectives with the world.
“The research highlights the growing potential for the arts to drive and support tourism activity, and for our artists to increase their engagement with the international tourist market.”