Queensland tourism surges ahead of biggest rivals

QUEENSLAND has lived up to its old advertising slogan as the shining light of Australian tourism.

The popular "Queensland: Where Australia Shines" slogan has never seemed more apt, with statistics to be released today by Tourism Research Australia showing a golden 12 months for the state's tourism industry.

Queensland's domestic visitor numbers (a record 24.6 million) have surged 12.2 per cent in the year to March 31 - the fastest growth in the country.

It increased the state's market share of the national tourism pie slightly to 22.5 per cent of total visitor numbers, while spending was up 14.4 per cent to a record $18.5 billion, almost a quarter of the national spending total. The gains outstripped our biggest rivals NSW and Victoria.

While Victoria visitor numbers increased 11.8 per cent, NSW numbers rose only 7.9 per cent and it dropped almost 1 per cent of market share.

While the figures are boosted by the blockbuster numbers of last April's Commonwealth Games, where hundreds of thousands of visitors travelled to the Gold Coast, the results still make impressive reading.

In the key holiday demographic, visitor numbers increased almost 10 per cent to 9.5 million, while the emerging business travel market - considered highly lucrative by operators and industry leaders - also enjoyed huge gains.

Business traveller numbers climbed to almost 6 million (an increase of 17 per cent growth) while spending in that sector was more than $3 billion.

International Visitor Survey statistics, released last month, showed overseas visitors numbers remained steady at 2.7 million in the year to March.

 

Saskia English from Sydney explores Walker Reef on the outer Great Barrier Reef. Queensland’s domestic visitor numbers have surged 12.2 per cent. Picture Lachie Millard
Saskia English from Sydney explores Walker Reef on the outer Great Barrier Reef. Queensland’s domestic visitor numbers have surged 12.2 per cent. Picture Lachie Millard

But spending by international tourists increased by 8.6 per cent, well above inflation and the Consumer Price Index.

Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the industry was continuing to be a vital cog in the state's economy.

"We're committed to growing this industry to create jobs in our cities and regions," she said.

"We've got the best attractions in the best place - it's no wonder more Aussies than ever before are visiting Queensland."

The Gold Coast was a standout, with visitor numbers increasing more than 17 per cent on the previous year while spending jumped more than 20 per cent in the same period, which did not include the Commonwealth Games numbers.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said visitors that had delayed their holidays in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games a year ago had returned in great numbers.

"We had a quieter March quarter in 2018, so it's thoroughly encouraging to see overnight visitors inspired to take winter breaks in our slice of paradise last year," she said.

Jennifer Swaine and Karen Barnett enjoy the sights of Montville on the Sunshine Coast. That region enjoyed a tourism spending increase of more than 20 per cent. Picture Lachie Millard
Jennifer Swaine and Karen Barnett enjoy the sights of Montville on the Sunshine Coast. That region enjoyed a tourism spending increase of more than 20 per cent. Picture Lachie Millard

The Sunshine Coast also enjoyed a spending increase of more than 20 per cent.

 

QUEENSLAND BY THE NUMBERS

  • 24.58 domestic overnight travellers (up 12.2 per cent).
  • Market share of visitor numbers up 0.4 per cent to 22.5 per cent.
  • Overnight spending up 14.4 per cent to $18.5 billion (24.8 per cent of the national total).
  • Business traveller numbers up 17.4 per cent to 5.8 million.
  • Holiday numbers increased 9.6 per cent to 9.5 million.


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