The Sunshine Coast continued its strong tourism recovery with solid growth in international arrivals revealed in the latest International Visitor Survey data.
The figures showed a 1.8% increase in international arrivals, an 8% growth in overall visitor nights and a substantial increase of 23.1% in international visitor expenditure to $214.5 million for the 2013-14 year compared 2012-13.
The star international performer for the Sunshine Coast was the New Zealand market, which grew by 8.4% to establish it as the region’s number one international source market. The Canadian market grew by 26%, and many of the European markets showed encouraging signs of recovery.
Commenting on the figures, Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) CEO, Simon Ambrose, said that while the figures were impressive, information from Sunshine Coast operators suggested that the last six months had produced an even stronger recovery, far outperforming the corresponding six months in 2013.
“It has been a tremendous start to the year for tourism in the Sunshine Coast, and our increased activity promoting the region overseas during the past 12 months is beginning to bear fruit,” he said.
“All our reports indicate that after an outstanding summer for both domestic and international travel, the pace of recovery has continued throughout the year, with strong performances in the leisure and business events sectors.
“2014 has seen a full calendar of major events, with sporting events such as last weekend’s Sunshine Coast Marathon and the up-coming Ironman and Tri Multi Sports Festivals complemented by this month’s Noosa Jazz Festival, Real Food Festival, and HinterLand arts festival. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive range of activities and attractions, and it is pleasing to see the figures beginning to reflect our dynamic promotion of the region.
“Looking forward, we have just completed filming – using drone technology – a new advertising campaign based around the region’s ‘Naturally Refreshing’ theme, and this will be released later in the year both in Australia and New Zealand, where we believe there is even greater potential for growing visitation thanks to the seasonal direct air services from Auckland into Sunshine Coast Airport,” Ambrose said.