For the first time in five years, the Douglas region has reached more than two million visitor room nights, with an additional 208,125 for the year ending March 2015.
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said driving this growth was the domestic market with 264,000 visitors and 1.5 million room nights. This compares to the previous year’s figures of 259,000 visitors and 1.2 million room nights.
“The strong results are testament to the huge investment our operators make in their product and marketing the sensational visitor experience.
“The growth in both domestic and international visitor numbers is an excellent result and I expect to see this trend continue as the Australian dollar falls making the destination more affordable for the international market and more attractive to domestic travellers.”
International visitors totalled 93,168 compared to 81,093 the previous year while total room nights reached 572,130.
Ms Bennett said TPDD had consistently positioned the region as an aspirational destination, targeting the leisure and business events sectors and these results indicated the Douglas Shire was on track to reach the growth targets set by Tourism Australia in its 2020 goals.
“Tourism contributes more than 80% to the Douglas Shire economy, which means the strong visitor numbers indicate the region is performing well and the economy is strengthening.
“This has been achieved through concentrated promotion and marketing by TPDD with the support of the Douglas Shire Council and the many dedicated operators in our region who spend considerable dollars promoting their experiences as well as ongoing investment in infrastructure,” she added.
In the last year more than $12 million has been spent as local reef tour operators launched and refurbished new and existing vessels, while other key attractions also underwent significant enhancements such as Cape Tribulation based businesses Jungle Surfing and Jungle Lodge as well as the Combined Club and United Backpackers in Port Douglas.
“There is certainly a lot of optimism in the market and with the $40 million dollar upgrade of the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas underway, as well as the considerable investment at the Reef Marina, and Daintree Eco Lodge, we can expect more exciting days ahead.”
Ms Bennett said this investment ensured visitors would continue to return to the region.
“We know visitors love this region and the fact that we have been voted in the top five must see destinations in Australia on TripAdvisor once again is testament to our industry, the professionalism of our operators and iconic natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest,” she added.