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Shoalhaven most visited LGA in NSW - outside Sydney CBD

Data from Tourism Research Australia’s National and International Visitor Surveys show that in 2016 the Shoalhaven is now the most visited Local Government Area outside of Sydney City LGA. With total 2016 visitation of 3.34 million people - and a year on year increase of almost 19% the Shoalhaven welcomed more visitors than other popular destinations such as Byron Bay, Port Stephens and Manly just to name a few. 

Off the back of strong economic conditions for domestic overnight holidays, the latest figures for the Shoalhaven are at an all-time high. Supporting and coinciding with this growth is the commitment to greater resources Shoalhaven Tourism has put into developing the regional brand and successfully marketing the region, particularly in the off-season, such as: The Unspoilt Campaign in partnership with Destination NSW; Publicity across the Food, Wine and Adventure market; Surfing Shoalhaven with ambassador Tyler Wright; an engaging Visitor Guide campaign; and development of a diverse event support strategy.

The Shoalhaven hosted 1.45 million domestic overnight visitors in 2016 – an increase of 8% year on year.  These visitors accounted for a massive 4.5 million visitor nights during the year.   Average length of stay increased to 3.1 nights. This was an extremely positive result given overall South Coast Region nights and length of stay declined.

There were 1.85 million domestic day visitors1 in the year ending December 2016, a 29% increase compared to the same period last year. On an international level, there were 43,300 overnight visitors to the region - a solid increase on 20151.

Almost one third of the Shoalhaven Visitor Economy comes from the day trip market, with a significant per day spend of $125 per person. Compared with $136 per person per night for the domestic overnight market this is a strong result, indicating a spend by day visitors across retail and hospitality industries as well as tourism providers, showing tourism is supporting the great business community.

Estimated visitor expenditure for the Shoalhaven in the December period was approximately $868 million dollars2, that’s almost a billion dollars a year brought into the local economy. This injection grows the local visitor economy and supports all local businesses, as visitors are eating at the regions restaurants and cafes, staying in various accommodation complexes and participating in various tourism products.


  1. Commissioned research taken from Tourism Research Australia; National and International Visitor Surveys, year ending December 2016. Visitor volume data extracted from Tourism Research Australia; National Visitor Survey & International Visitor Survey, Year ending December 2016. Estimates include Jervis Bay Commonwealth Territory.
  2. Spend is modelled visitor expenditure for the year ending December 2016 (Tourism Research Australia).
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