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Staycation boom for one in two New South Wales residents

Westpac research reveals expected boost for visitor economy as the state opens for business

21 October 2021

Westpac research shows Aussies are getting ready to pack their bags after being at home during lockdown, with four in five (80%) intending to travel when restrictions ease – up 10 per cent since 2020.

In New South Wales, one in two (48%) are planning to stay within the state and will be showing their support for local businesses by heading to bars and restaurants (50%), enjoying leisure activities (42%), going shopping (38%), and visiting local attractions (29%).

“The tourism sector has had a challenging time with state and international border restrictions, so it will be a welcome boost for the visitor economy as well as the nation’s economic recovery that Aussies are planning to spend and enjoy their own backyard,” said Westpac Managing Director Business Lending, Shane Howell.

“The NSW Government’s announcement of $50 vouchers to spend on accommodation anywhere in the state will give residents an added incentive to get out and about, particularly in regional and rural areas.

“Extended time at home and an increase in consumer deposits during lockdown means that residents are raring to treat themselves to a trip. Our customers are telling us there has been a surge in online travel and accommodation bookings, and restaurants and cafes in popular spots are booking out for the next couple of months,” Mr Howell said.

The research also shows Australians are continuing to prioritise spending with local businesses as a result of COVID-19, with four in five (80%) revealing they are actively choosing to support local businesses. In New South Wales, three in five (60%) don’t mind sacrificing extra savings in order to buy local.

Business owners and operators also believe the number one thing consumers can do to support the economic recovery from the pandemic is support local and homegrown businesses.

NSW Government data shows the visitor economy contributes $38 billion to our Gross State Product and will play an important role in the state’s recovery through the other side of the pandemic1.

A spike in spending has already been recorded across New South Wales following the recent easing of restrictions, with analysis of Westpac merchant terminal data last week revealing shopping in family and clothes shops had increased 1197 per cent, visits to beauty and barber shops were up 1051 per cent and spending at homeware shops increased 543 per cent.

“There are still challenges ahead for business, and some consumer caution remains around the virus. Residents using their ‘purchase power’ to support businesses can make a big difference, and we are also providing tailored support for our customers who need extra assistance, as well as funding to help with their growth aspirations as restrictions ease,” said Mr Howell.

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About the research

The research was commissioned by Westpac and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 2,038 Australians aged 18+ with surveys distributed throughout Australia, including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel, between 9 August and 17 August 2021. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the ABS.

About the Westpac merchant terminal data

The insights compared Westpac Group merchant data spending volumes in NSW from Monday 27 September against ‘Freedom Day’ on 11 October.

 NSW Government Visitor Economy Strategy 2030,