'Harry and Meghan effect': Bumper season since royal visit
THE Fraser Coast has recorded bumper tourist numbers in the months following a visit from newly-wed Royals Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan.
A new report from Tourism Research Australia reveals the Fraser Coast continued to outpace the state average in domestic visitor growth last year.
Tourism experts hope the 'Harry and Meghan effect' will continue to bolster numbers during the winter season.
Fraser Coast Tourism & Events general manager Martin Simons said he was hopeful the phenomena would boost a drop in international visitor numbers, particularly from Germany and the United Kingdom.
He said a strong events program, including the By the C concert and the national and world A-Cat sailing titles, had helped boost numbers.
"Hopefully the 'Harry and Meghan effect' will kick in, particularly in Britain over the coming year overcoming the negative influences of the Brexit debacle and we will see these figures turn around,” Mr Simons said.
"The improvement in the domestic numbers has lifted total Fraser Coast overnight visitation in 2018, including internationals, to 902,000 which moves us closer to the one million target we are chasing.
"Including day trippers, total visitation to the Fraser Coast was 1.75 million in the year to December.”
Figures from the Queensland National Visitor Survey reveal domestic overnight visitation to the Fraser Coast grew to 772,000 in 2018.
Those figures are up 9.5 per cent on the region's previous three-year average and 14.3 per cent better than last year.
Total Queensland visitation of 24.1 million was up 10.6 per cent in that same period.
The increased numbers lifted visitor expenditure to $444.2 million for the year to December, up 18.9 per cent on the three-year trend.
Tourism and Events Queensland has spent more than $400,000 on a media campaign promoting Fraser Coast and Bundaberg attractions through the winter, following the scuttling of the ex-HMAS Tobruk last year.