$2.6b tourism windfall as visitor numbers hit record highs
TOURISTS just can't get enough of the Sunshine Coast and they're coming in their droves.
Tourism Research Australia's quarterly National Visitor Survey showed the region had experienced its highest ever domestic visitor numbers.
A total of 3.4 million arrivals were recorded to the year ending March 2017, contributing $2.06 billion in visitor expenditure to the economy.
This was a 6% growth rate, nearly double the nation's domestic growth figure of 3.1% and significantly higher than the Queensland state average of 4.3%.
Interstate visitors grew by 14.7%, with 452,000 New South Wales visitors producing a 17.6% growth rate.
Intrastate travel was up by 3.2% to 2.5 million, including 15.6% growth from Brisbane residents.
Sunshine Coast Airport general manager Peter Pallot said the record visitation numbers were a great result for the hard work of the tourism industry over the past few years.
"Our collective teams have done an incredible job of increasing visitor understanding of the rich diversity of offerings the Sunshine Coast has for holiday makers," Mr Pallot said.
"Sunshine Coast Airport's growth echoes the region's success with passenger numbers growing by 9% year on year in the first quarter of 2017."
The data released today recorded a total of 12.5 million nights across the region up 7.6% with the average holiday stay of 4.3 nights up 0.1% of a night.
Mantra Group Regional General Manager Winston Hall said the Group, which operates seven properties on the Sunshine Coast, has also seen a strong uplift in visitor arrivals into the region.
"Our Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree resorts on the Sunshine Coast are experiencing unprecedented demand, with most properties nearing capacity on weekends and during peak periods, achieving a combined average occupancy of 81% throughout the reporting year," said Mr Hall.
"Not only are our occupancy rates at record levels, visitors are also staying longer with an increase in our guests' average length of stay year on year.
"Our two properties in the holiday hotspot of Noosa continue to go from strength to strength and we're also seeing strong uplift in corporate business, particularly at Mantra Mooloolaba Beach."
The Sunshine Coast continued to be a popular destination for business events with 230,000 business visitors recorded to the year ending March 2017.
The Sunshine Coast Events Centre General Manager Gary Mears said that business events have emerged as a dynamic growth industry for the Sunshine Coast. There has been burgeoning growth in bookings from corporate business and national associations.
Professional Conference Organisers were now taking advantage of the Coast's quality conference facilities, accommodation options and unique local attractions.
We have worked closely with Business Events Sunshine Coast, to secure a diverse mix of specialist state and national conferences, said Mr Mears.
"These have contributed to record results in venue utilisation and attendances over the past year."
The Australian Macadamia Society and Australasian Bromeliad Conferences at The Events Centre attracted new visitors from across the nation and overseas with many extending their stay to enjoy the regions offerings.
The positive economic impact generated from increased business events has escalated bed nights and presented a lucrative flow on effect for the local business economy.
To access the latest National Visitor Statistics visit: www.tra.gov.au