The Sunshine Coast attracted three million domestic visitors in the year to March 2016, the highest figure for the region since March 2008,according to the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) figures released today by Tourism Research Australia.
The three million milestone was reached as a result of an overall increase of 3% in visitors for the year, with 8% growth in holiday travellers (to 1.7 million) and 18% growth in business travel, reflecting strength in the Sunshine Coast’s leisure, conference and commercial sectors.
The surveyed period covers the start of Qantas’ direct business-friendly services to Sunshine Coast Airport.
The regional statistics follow an announcement last week of record passenger movements by Sunshine Coast Airport, which set a new 12-month passenger record with 959,282 people flying in and out in the year to May 31 2016, beating the previous record set in January 2009. With new Jetstar services from Adelaide, and increased capacity from Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland over the next six months, Sunshine Coast Airport is confident of reaching its own ‘magic million’ mark by the end of the year.
The significant growth in domestic visitors was built on 6% growth in intra-state travel, with the Southern Queensland area a stand-out (up 20%). Of interstate markets, Victoria delivered 25% more travellers, with Melbourne up 17%.
Domestic tourism produced $1.7 billion in expenditure for the Sunshine Coast in the year to March 2016.
“The figures reflect the success of the Sunshine Coast’s marketing efforts and particularly our events strategy, supported by dynamic growth in capacity at Sunshine Coast Airport,” commented Visit Sunshine Coast acting CEO, Simon Latchford.
“Sunshine Coast Council and Airport, Tourism and Events Queensland and all our operators have contributed strongly to us reaching the three million milestone, and with new flight routes opening and added capacity over the winter we are confident that we will break the all-time record domestic tourism figure within the next year. It represents a massive turnaround in the region’s performance, and it is encouraging to see that the solid holiday tourism is now being complemented by even stronger business travel and conference growth. We are a complete destination with a very diverse set of attractions.”