The National Visitor Survey statistics showed that Sunshine Coast visitation grew by 4.6% in the year ending June 30, 2014. This was the largest increase in southern Queensland, and only the Townsville and Whitsundays tourist regions (in Queensland) exceeded the Sunshine Coast performance. The only other Queensland region to increase visitor numbers was Brisbane, which grew by 1%.
The 4.6% increase in Sunshine Coast visitors grew the total number of visitors to the region to 2.8 million for the 2013-14 financial year.
Best performing markets to the Sunshine Coast included:
- The business and business events\conference sector grew 40% compared to 2012-13;
- Brisbane visitors numbers grew 13.9%, and intrastate visitation also showed substantial gains, reversing the trend from the previous year;
- Sydney was the stand-out performer for interstate source markets, up 3.4%.
The National Visitor Survey figures followed equally positive International Visitor Survey numbers released last week. Those figures showed a 1.8% increase in international arrivals, 8% growth in overall visitor nights and a substantial increase of 23.1% in international visitor expenditure to $214.5 million for the 2013-14 year compared 2012-13.
Commenting on the figures, Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) CEO, Simon Ambrose, said that the increases in domestic visitation were even more impressive as they were achieved without vast investment in advertising campaigns.
“Over the past year there has been a complete regeneration of Sunshine Coast Destination, with every area reviewed, revised and upgraded, and the results are now becoming apparent,” said Mr Ambrose.
“We have quality product available throughout the region, and the Australian travelling public is increasingly appreciating that we are not a ‘mono’ destination that relies solely on beaches. Our strategy of diversity is being reflected by the broad range of events held on an almost weekly basis. These include events such as the Real Food Festival, the HinterLand Arts Festival and sporting events such as the IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast and Blackall 100, which will be one of the most remarkable running events staged in Australia.
“The diversity, quality and convenience of our location has also rejuvenated the business events sector, with the region attracting more conferences, incentives and special events in 2013-14 than in the previous year.
“The turnaround in Sunshine Coast tourism’s fortunes is a reflection of the hard work and professionalism of the region’s tourism operators and the ancillary services that supports the industry.”
Mr Ambrose said that the Sunshine Coast was well placed to build on the impressive international and domestic results when it holds DestinationQ next week, which will see over 300 delegates come to the region for the State’s most powerful tourism trade event.