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Little River, Victoria | Image credit: Heidi Fin

Hospitality, tourism and retail showing promise across regional Australia: CommBank Report

Spending is up in certain sectors across regional Australia, moving past the post-pandemic-start spend recovery seen in metro areas, according to new transaction data that’s arrived from the Commonwealth Bank.

A 15 per cent year-on-year rise in transactions across regional hospitality and tourism sectors was seen at the end of January 2021, while the regional retail sector saw a jump of 19 per cent.

The CBA data, which took into account all transactions via the bank’s merchant terminals (including card-using machines and e-commerce), showcases a significant reversal on the hospitality and tourism sectors that had fallen behind metro areas just before the pandemic began. Now, the sectors are up on metro results by 30 percentage points.

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“These figures show the strength and resilience of regional Australia, particularly in the areas of hospitality, tourism and retail which have been hard hit during the pandemic,” Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager for Regional and Agribusiness Banking Grant Cairns said in a statement.

“While many companies in these sectors are understandably still doing it tough, particularly those more dependent on international tourism, it is heartening to see how regional businesses have managed to come through the crisis – many are bouncing back after the most testing twelve months the country has experienced.”

Metro areas have also seen a rise in spending across hospitality and tourism when compared to the low-point results of April 2020, although the numbers are still below February 2020 results. The January 2021 metro results are down 16 per cent, highlighting the effects of lockdowns and COVID restrictions in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

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Among Australia’s regional areas, the ACT was found to have been the least impacted by the pandemic, showing rising numbers from June 2020 onwards. Tasmania, on the other spectrum, showed an 81 per cent drop between April 2019 and April 2020, but has managed to show promise in January 2021 with a 17 per cent year-on-year growth.

The promising regional data is being attributed to strong support from local communities as businesses attempt to get wheels moving again. Plus, a rise in domestic tourism as Aussies explore more of their country with limitations on international travel still rampant.

“This is a testament to a lot of hard work locally and the way these communities have banded together to support regional businesses. It is also reflective of the way Australians as a whole have responded by travelling to regional destinations when it has been safe to do so and enjoying what these areas have to offer,” said Mr Cairns.

“I’ve been fortunate myself to visit many areas of regional Australia over the last four months as state borders have opened up and I’m very optimistic about the opportunities being afforded by the economic recovery that is underway.  It’s also encouraging to see the trend set over the twelve months to the end of January has continued into February and March, which bodes well for the rest of 2021.

“With the various Government tourism incentives currently on offer, I think we’ll continue to see Australians exploring their own backyard.”

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Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo is the Editor of Dynamic Business and Manager of film &amp; television entertainment site ScreenRealm.com. Follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/gtponders">Twitter</a>.

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