The Sunshine Coast recorded 14% growth in international visitors for the year till March 2015, double Queensland’s growth rate of 7%. The strong figures build on the recent announcement of 9.2% increase in domestic travel to the Sunshine Coast.
The double-digit international growth saw the Sunshine Coast attract 258,000 visitors for the year.
The figures were announced today as part of the International Visitor Survey (IVS) released by Tourism Research Australia.
Key growth markets were from northern Europe, with Germany up 37%, Scandinavia up 19.2%, and UK up 15.2%.
New Zealand continued to be a powerful contributor, up 12.8%, while Canada’s rise of 13% highlighted the potential for growth from the North American market.
Simon Ambrose, CEO of Sunshine Coast Destination (SCDL) said that SCDL’s targeting of the German market with major promotions in 2014-15 was paying dividends for the whole region, with the Noosa, Hinterland and Rainbow Beach areas particularly benefiting from SCDL’s international marketing campaigns.
“The Sunshine Coast is a ‘natural’ for markets such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries because they love the region’s rich diversity,” said Mr Ambrose.
“The beaches are a major incentive, but Europeans are also attracted to trekking, exploring the Hinterland, markets and the region’s food culture. Our promotion of Australia’s Nature Coast has helped produce considerable traction in Europe.
“A $200,000 campaign in New Zealand has been responsible for producing double-digit inbound growth for all areas of the Sunshine Coast.
“Last week’s announcement of Qantas’ return to the Sunshine Coast will enable us to attract even more international visitors in the future, including major incentive and conference groups.”
Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge owner, Keith Murray, said that the Sunshine Coast Destination promotions in Europe had contributed significantly to the growth of his property’s international business.
“Over the past two years our international business has increased over 35%, and that has risen to an 88% increase in July 2015 international bookings compared to July 2014,” said Mr Murray.
“Overseas bookings now represent 32% of our business, with our strongest market being Europe, which makes up 55% of all our overseas stays, followed by NZ with 23%. The strongest country of source is Germany, followed by UK then Netherlands.
“Building our international market has taken patience and persistence, but with the support of TEQ and SCDL we have really been able to build a strong market for the Sunshine Coast in Europe.
The more recent Australia’s Nature Coast promotion from Sunshine Coast Destination has driven home to the Northern European market the incredible diversity of experiences available here on the Sunshine Coast/Fraser Coast, made easier by being just over an hour’s drive north of Brisbane.
“The Germans and Dutch just love the Hinterland, the nature and being able to chill out without the overcrowded tourist spots in many parts of Australia. They are quite discerning in their choice of holiday stays, use their mobile devices often and are quite often prepared to stay the extra night if they like the location.”
Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) is the regional tourism organisation that manages and promotes tourism on the Sunshine Coast, representing local tourism areas such as Noosa, Gympie, Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, and the Hinterland.