THE Gladstone region's fishing spots have Queenslanders hooked, according to new Tourism and Events Queensland regional analysis.

Intrastate visits are up and the total overnight visitor sales in the southern Great Barrier Reef was worth more than $1 billion in the year to June 2014.

Of that, $930.8 million was spent by domestic visitors.

Sunshine Coast man Harold Boreham scores fishing in the Gladstone waters 8/10.

That must be a fairly high rating in his book, because he has kept coming back to the same place for 12 years.

Cameron Jessen has fished at Swain Reef, off the coast of Gladstone, for more than 27 years.

"You catch fantastic fish. Nature itself is just beautiful out there," he said.

"You can't experience it anywhere else in the world."

He said he felt lucky to have access to the southern Great Barrier Reef. 

Tour operator and skipper Raymond Gleeson is used to hosting Queenslanders on his luxury fishing cruises.

It's no surprise to him they keep coming back.

Fishing on the Swain Reefs is breathtakingly beautiful, he said, and the best thing about being out on the water was being in touch with "raw nature".

"You can't describe things you can see when you're out there. It's unbelievable."

His wife Georgia said spots were filled early.

"It's a full house - they beg to get on it," she said.

"We're booked out (until 2015). We're taking bookings for 2016 and 2017."

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development project officer of marketing and promotions Patricia Rizzato said the tourism body was looking to market the region further.

"GAPDL have obtained funding from TEQ to undertake a Gladstone Region Tourism marketing campaign, which is currently in the creative process stage," she said.

Where reef visitors come from:

  • Brisbane: 366,000 (up 0.5%)
  • Regional Queensland: 1,099,000 (up 1.4%)
  • UK: 25,000 (down 3.7%)
  • Germany: 16,000 (up 1.2%)
  • New Zealand: 16,000 (down 12/4%)
  • USA: 9000 (down 6.7%)
  • France: 7000 (down 3.4%)
  • Scandinavia: 6000 (down 23.4%)
  • Netherlands: 5000 (down 13%)


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