Updated on June 27, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Canberra is well-known for its national attractions, but art lovers and history buffs in the know also love the city’s local arts scene and heritage sites.

Canberra is home to 12 of Australia’s most iconic cultural attractions, museums and galleries. Each showcases a unique perspective of Australia’s story from First Nations history to contemporary times. 

The small-yet-mighty capital of Canberra is a city that punches far above its weight. Well-known museums and historical sites are just the beginning. The Canberra Region is a tourist destination of amazing experiences and brilliant possibilities.

The Canberra Region is one of the most diverse regions in Australia. Each area of the Region – City, Coast, Alpine, Tablelands – has a unique experience to offer local, national and international visitors. The Canberra Region is well-positioned to deliver an unparalleled tourist experience where visitors can enjoy the best Australia has to offer, all within one region.

Below are some of the city’s tourism top trends and statistics.


  • The Canberra Region is emerging as one of Australia’s premiere tourist destinations.
  • The Canberra Region is one of the most diverse regions in Australia. Each area of the Region – City, Coast, Alpine, Tablelands – has a unique experience to offer local, national and international visitors.
  • Canberra is home to many museums and art galleries such as the National Museum, the Australian War Memorial, and even the World Museum.
  • In Canberra, you can skydive above the parliament house. It’s the only place in the world where you can do it.
  • During the year to June 2019, tourists spent a combined $2.82 billion while in the ACT.
  • Data from Tourism Research Australia showed that 5.48 million visitors came to the nation’s capital in the year to June 2019.
  • In 2019, 2.9 million overnight visitors from Australia and 2.31 million domestic travelers made the trip to Canberra for the day.
  • 2019 visitors figures were the most successful tourism numbers for the territory.
  • The Canberra Region’s Alpine country attracts many tourists domestically and internationally.
  • Domestic tourism, which accounts for a large majority of the total visitor economy, has also been severely affected by the pandemic. However, the recovery is already underway in the domestic sector and is expected to continue in 2022.
  • With a wealth of natural resources and being Australia’s premier region for snow sports and activities, spanning a period of 16 to 18 weeks, The Alpine region is home to the Australian Institute of Sport winter athletes.
  • Chinese tourists made up more than 20 percent of international visitors to Canberra, following those from the UK, USA, India, and New Zealand rounding out the top five.
  • Canberra’s key domestic overnight source markets remained Sydney and regional NSW, followed by Melbourne, regional Victoria, and Brisbane.
  • Canberra’s tourism sector continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The recovery of this sector over the coming years is a priority for the ACT Government.
  • Through various initiatives, the ACT Government aims to rebuild and grow the ACT’s overnight visitor expenditure to $3.5 billion by 2030.
  • The combination of bushfires and COVID-19 wiped out around $1.3 billion in overnight visitor expenditure from the tourism industry in the year ending September 2020.
  • The government intends to spend $8 million to continue to support business recovery so it can attract more investment and create more jobs as the ACT economy rebounds once again.
  • Most of Canberra’s attractions have free entry and free tours so that every person who walks in the door can leave with a better understanding of the exhibits around them.
  • As travel restrictions ease in Australia, the pace of the recovery is reliant on consumer confidence to undertake travel and travelers’ capability and willingness to spend on travel. 
  • Domestic travel confidence amongst Australians is currently at its highest levels since the start of COVID-19, with more than half of all Australians considering or planning interstate travel.


  • The top reasons for international visitors for visiting Canberra are holidays, Visiting friends and family, business, and Education.
  • Domestic overnight visitors spend an average of $189 per night.
  • Domestic day visitors spend an average of $156 per trip.
  • The most common activities that Visiting Friends and families (VFRs) experienced nationally were eating out at restaurants, shopping, and general sightseeing. Specifically in the ACT, the most common VFR activities included eating out at restaurants, shopping, and visiting museums or art galleries. The latter activity was much more popular among ACT VFRs than at the national level, whereas going to pubs, clubs, and discos was more popular among national VFRs than ACT VFRs.


  • Australians are desperate to travel, especially heading into the traditional peak holiday season, and into 2022
  • Canberra continues to cement its reputation as a vibrant, progressive and intellectual city, in addition to being the national seat of government. Businesses, investors, students and tourists are driving the demand for new accommodation. New, stylish hotels, motels, serviced apartments, and conference centers are springing up in the CBD and beyond.
  • Canberra’s $2 billion tourism industry is flourishing, offering opportunities for investment in accommodation and other tourism services.
  • Canberra’s hotel market continues to gain momentum as the nation’s stand-out performer, with the sale of the Aria Hotel for $35 million capping off a strong year of sales activity for the nation’s capital.
  • Due to Canberra’s position as a destination for domestic travel and government-related visits, its hotel industry recovered from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic faster than other markets which rely more on international arrivals.
  • As of May 2021, rates of hotel room nights occupied (RNO) in Canberra, Australia were at around 109% of the levels seen in May 2019.
  • There are over 30 vineries around Canberra, and most of them are within 50 kilometers of the city.
  • Since 1987, Canberra has been the venue for Australia’s biggest car festival.
  • Canberra Airport is an international airport, located approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) from the city center, within the North Canberra district, it is the eighth busiest airport in Australia. 
  • VisitCanberra’s Public Relations runs a program called Visiting Journalist and Influencers Program (VJIP) which gives media and influencers first-hand knowledge of Canberra and the region by providing information, story angles, itineraries, and hosting services.
  • All visiting film/television crews must carry public liability insurance to the value of $A10 million for the duration of their visit to Canberra.
  • As of September 2021, in Canberra Australia, only 3% of the hotels were labeled as Luxury. The highest concentration of hotels in the city was in the upscale and upper-upscale categories which had 85 percent of the hotels. The midscale and upper-midscale categories consisted of ten percent of the hotels.
  • The Hilltops region in Canberra is emerging as a premiere food and wine tourist destination.
  • The recovery in domestic day trips is stronger than overnight trips in the current year (2021-22).
  • Day trips are expected to see continued growth in 2022-23, returning to pre-pandemic levels, as Australians take advantage of opportunities to reconnect with family and friends, attend events, and explore their surroundings.
  • Travel for visiting friends and relatives (VFR) is the first segment to fully recover as Australians seek to reconnect with family and friends after an extended period of separation during the pandemic.
  • The large-scale infrastructure plans which include new vibrant urban precincts and a state-of-the-art light rail network – showcase Canberra’s market strength and anticipated future growth in the tourism market.