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Latest Tourism Research Australia data shows Covid downturn in attendance at art, cultural and sporting events

Latest Tourism Research Australia data shows Covid downturn in attendance at art, cultural and sporting events
March 30, 2022

Attendance at art, cultural and sporting events plummeted by more than 60% during the 2021 calendar year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As revealed in a newly released survey from Tourism Research Australia, lifestyle and music festivals were worst affected, with a 65% downturn in attendances during the year, followed by cinemas, which suffered a 62% decline.

Sporting events - which were reported in the same category with concerts and theatre attendance - were down 61% for the year. Casinos (49%), theme parks (42%) and restaurants (38%) reported significant downturns also.

Spending on overnight stays was down 25% to $60.7 billion, room nights were down 23% and overnight trips down 30%. International spend was down 94%.

After a slight recovery in the first half of 2021, the onset of the Omicron variant saw losses rise in the second half of the year.

Capital cities were hit harder by lockdowns than their regional counterparts, with travel to the Australian capitals down 58% versus regional areas, which were down 19%. Interstate trips were down 57%.

Despite a terrible year overall for the leisure industry, figures from the back end of 2021 and the early signs from the recent Christmas/New Year period show that the easing of restrictions is leading to a positive bounceback to both travel and tourism spend.

The December 2021 quarter showed a 50% increase in spend and 78% increase in trips compared with the preceding quarter.

Image: Attendance at music festivals fell 65% last year. Woodford Festival (pictured) was not held in 2021, or in 2020.

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