The Gold Coast has set a new record for international visitors, attracting 1.027 million people to the destination in the twelve months to December, 2016.The International Visitor Survey* (IVS) figures show a 13.9% increase on the previous 12 month period and continues a positive trend, which late last year saw international visitation to the city break the one million mark for the first time.
Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said the total figure was largely influenced by an increase in holiday visitors (up 14.2% to 812,000) and a rise in the number of those visiting friends and relatives (up 4.3% to 146,000).
The number of business visitors, while comparatively small, rose 29.7% to 35,000 and student numbers grew 10.4% to 23,000.
“The Gold Coast continues to be the key driver for visitors to Queensland, with almost half of all international visitors to the state coming here,” said Martin.
“International visitors spent $1.2 billion in this period – further evidence we are consolidating our appeal as the nation’s most favoured destination.
“As we approach the GC2018 Commonwealth Games, we will drive the growth of the $5.1 billion tourism industry through the implementation of our new Marketing Strategy, concurrent with growth of our new brand position.”
Chinese travellers continued to dominate the growth in international visitor numbers, with a 20.8% increase to 292,000 – the majority of which (274,000) came to the Gold Coast for a holiday.
“Chinese visitors are strongly attracted to our natural assets, wildlife, pristine beaches, big blue skies, shopping and dining.
“We will continue to engage with the China market and work closely with industry and our destination stakeholders to provide a great experience for our Chinese visitors and to deliver significant benefits to the city as a whole.”
The IVS data also reported New Zealand accounted for 204,000 visitors to the Gold Coast, ahead of the UK (71,000), Japan (63,000) and the USA (38,000).
*International visitor data is provided by International Visitor Surveys conducted by Tourism Research Australia.