Cultural visitation highlights - 2018

  • In 2018 there were 11.4m cultural visits or visitors to and within Victoria
  • 40% of domestic cultural visitors visited a museum or art gallery
  • Cultural visitors who experienced at least three cultural activities spent $2.1 billion in 2018 (compared with $1.0 billion in 2013, a 110% increase)

Cultural tourism iconCultural visitation - total

In 2018 there were 11.4 million cultural visits or visitors to and within Victoria. This represents an increase of 5% compared with the year prior, and significant growth (54%) since 2013. The average annual growth is 9% since 2013.

Of the total visitors to Melbourne, 18% engaged with a cultural activity, compared with 12% for regional Victoria.

Cultural visitors to Melbourne (31%) were more likely to attend theatre, concerts or other performing arts than regional visitors (12%).

graph showing Where do our cultural visitors go?

As shown above, the most popular activity for all cultural visitors is to visit a museum or art gallery (45%).

globeCultural visitation - international

In 2018 there were 3.0 million international visitors to Victoria. Of this 63% (1.9 million) of these visitors were considered cultural visitors compared to 54% nationally. Significantly, international cultural visitation has grown by 68% since 2013.

  • Total spend by international cultural visitors (going to at least one cultural experience) increased from $2.9 billion in 2013 to $5.7 billion in 2018.
  • Cultural visitors who have experienced at least three cultural activities spend $2.1 billion in 2018 (compared with $1.0 billion in 2013 - 110% increase). This reflects the 68% increase in international cultural visitors since 2013.
  • On average, cultural visitors stay almost two nights longer than most total international visitors to Victoria.

Where do people come from?

Almost a quarter of international visitors to Victoria that experienced a cultural activity came from China.

The strongest growth markets of cultural visitors to Victoria over the last 5 years are India (19%), Japan (18%), China (16%) and Taiwan (16%).

Victoria also experienced strong visitation growth in international overnight visitors (13% each year since 2013) from the United States of America.


Regional iconCultural visitation - domestic

Domestic cultural visitors (overnight and day trip) to and within regional Victoria was highest in the Goldfields (18% of the total).

These regions had similar figures:

  • the Murray (11%)
  • Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland, Geelong and the Bellarine, Great Ocean Road and Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges (each 10%)
  • High Country, Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges (each 9%)

With 40% of domestic cultural visitors visiting a museum or art gallery, this remains the most popular cultural activity.

Cultural visitors to and within regional Victoria were slightly more likely (18%) to attend festivals, fairs or cultural events than visitors to Melbourne (16%).


Note: A release on Art tourism by the Australia Council is expected late November 2019. The definition will be different to the Cultural tourism definition used by Creative Victoria as they only focus on arts activities, resulting in a narrower definition.

Data notes: Sources: International and National Visitor Survey December 2018, Tourism Research Australia, data released in June and July 2019. 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, visited museums or art galleries, visited art or craft workshops or studios, attended festivals, fairs or cultural events or visited history, heritage building sites or monuments, experienced aboriginal art/craft and cultural displays, visited an aboriginal site/community and/or attended an aboriginal performance (in the IVS only) 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.