Cultural visitation highlights - 2019

  • In 2019 there were 12.3 million cultural visits or visitors to and within Victoria
  • 46% of cultural visitors visited a museum or art gallery
  • Cultural visitors who experienced at least three cultural activities spent $2.5 billion in 2019

Cultural tourism iconCultural visitation - total

In 2019 there were 12.3 million cultural visits or visitors to and within Victoria. This represents an increase of 8% compared with the year prior, and significant growth (36%) since 2015. The average annual growth is 8% since 2015.

Of the total visitors to Melbourne, 15% engaged with a cultural activity, compared with 11% for regional Victoria.

The most popular activity for all cultural visitors is to visit a museum or art gallery (46%)

46% of cultural visitors to Victoria attend museums and art galleries


globeCultural visitation - international

In 2019 there were 3.1 million international visitors to Victoria.  Of these, 59% or 1.9 million, visitors were considered cultural, having experienced at least one cultural activity in their trip. International cultural visitation has grown by 22% since 2015.

  • International cultural visitors who experienced at least three cultural activities during their trip spent $2 billion in 2019
    • compared to $1.6 billion in 2015 this represents a 27% increase in spend
  • On average, cultural visitors stay longer in Victoria, around two night more than the average visitor to Victoria.

Where do people come from?

Almost a quarter of international visitors to Victoria that experienced a cultural activity came from China (22% of all cultural visitors).

The strongest growth markets of cultural visitors to Victoria over the last 5 years are Japan (21% average annual growth), Indonesia (15%), India (12%) and Netherlands (11%).

Victoria also experienced strong visitation growth from the United States of America (7% average annual growth since 2015).


Regional iconCultural visitation - domestic

Domestic cultural visitors (overnight and day trip) to and within regional Victoria was highest in the Goldfields (21% of the total share of cultural visitation across Victoria).

These regions attracted a similar share of Victoria's cultural visitation:

  • Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges (12%)
  • Great Ocean Road (11%)
  • the Murray (10%)

With 36% of domestic cultural visitors visiting a museum or art gallery, this remains the most popular cultural activity.

  • Cultural visitors to Melbourne were more likely to attend theatre, concerts or other performing arts events (26% of all cultural visitors) than cultural visitors to and within regional Victoria (11% of all cultural visitors).
  • Cultural visitors to and within regional Victoria were more likely to visit heritage buildings, sites or monuments (35% of all cultural visitors) than visitors to Melbourne (15% of all cultural visitors).

Data notes: Sources: International and National Visitor Survey December 2019, Tourism Research Australia. Estimates are for visitors 15+ year. Figures may not add due to rounding. Improvements in the NVS methodology has resulted in a break in series. Please use caution when comparing these results with previous time periods and releases. For further information on methodology changes and impacts refer to the Tourism Research Australia NVS Methodology.

Cultural visitor definition: Cultural visitors are defined as those who attended one or more of the following cultural experiences: theatre, concerts or other performing arts; museums or art galleries; art or craft workshops or studios; festivals, fairs or cultural events; history, heritage building sites or monuments; aboriginal art/craft or cultural displays, site/community or performance while on their trip to/within Australia. Visitors to/within Victoria have undertaken at least one of these activities whilst on a trip to Australia, not necessarily in Victoria.  When calculating spend 'cultural visitor' is defined as engaging in three or more cultural experiences during their trip, to avoid over-estimating expenditure where the cultural activity may not have been engaged with in Victoria.