Visitors continue to show a strong desire to visit the Murray region, with almost one million visitors to the Sun Country area, according to the latest Tourism Research Australia reports.
More than 5.3million domestic and international visitors explored the Murray region during the year ending March 2017.
These visitors stayed 8.7million nights and contributed a total of $1.4billion to the economy.
The Sun Country region showed strong results, recording more than 925000 visitors for the year ending March 2017.
The region experienced growth in domestic overnight travel, with 544000 people spending 1.8million nights.
Domestic overnight visitors spent $321million in the region and listed holiday as the main purpose of travel (55.4 per cent), followed by visiting friends and relatives (32.9 per cent).
Murray Regional Tourism chair Wendy Greiner said the results again highlighted the importance of the visitor economy as a key pillar in supporting regional jobs and economic prosperity.
‘‘Murray Regional Tourism recognises the importance of providing high quality visitor experiences to drive visitation,’’ Ms Greiner said.
‘‘We remain committed to our cross-border approach to support local business to ensure continued growth.’’
Domestic overnight visitors to the Murray region totalled 2.7million, staying more than 7.4million nights and contributing more than $1billion to the regional economy.
Domestic daytrip visitors topped 2.6million people who spent $334million.
The region attracted 61000 international visitors who stayed 1.2million nights and contributed $51million to the local economy.
The three primary drivers for visitors were holiday at more than 42 per cent, visiting friends and relatives (nearly 34 per cent) and business (more than 15 per cent).
The top activities undertaken by visitors were food and beverage-related, with many choosing to enjoy the outstanding cafes, restaurants, fresh produce and markets the region offers.
Visiting friends and relatives was also a popular reason for travel to the Murray, providing visitors the opportunity to live like a local, while shopping in the many fabulous villages and towns and sightseeing were also key activities.
‘‘These drivers for travel highlight the great experiences provided by tourism operators in the region and the important role the entire community plays in hosting visitors,’’ Ms Greiner said.
Figures also indicate visitors are dispersing, meaning the entire region is benefiting from the collaborative regional approach.