Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is celebrating a major boost to tourism spend for the 2022/23 financial year with equal-record domestic overnight visitor expenditure of AU$4.4 billion – exceeding both the same period for 2021/22 (AU$3.0bn), and the pre-Covid year of 2019 (AU$2.7bn).

The latest data released by Tourism Research Australia as part of the National Visitor Survey, showed that day trippers to the Sunshine Coast contributed AU$854 million in 2022-23, growing total visitor expenditure to AU$5.2 billion for the year.

The record overnight expenditure was based on a total of 3.9 million visitors, which was in line with visitor numbers in 2021/22.

The average spend of visitors to the Sunshine Coast in the 2022/23 financial year was AU$1136 per overnight visitor, up 47.6% YOY and up 67.5% compared to 2019. Overnight visitors spent an average of AU$311 per night/per visitor, which was up 41.2% YOY, and 64.6% higher than in 2019.

The biggest growth in visitation came from holiday visitors, increasing to 2.3 million annually, which was up 5.1% on 2019, while business travel grew 9.6% to 244,000 visitors in 2022-23, but this number was still 32% lower than in 2019.

The full return of interstate flights and the introduction of Bonza Airlines to the area in the first half of 2023 helped drive a large increase in interstate visitor numbers to 1.1 million in 2022-23, up 45.7% compared to the previous financial year.

The total of 146,000 overseas visitors was 3% lower than the comparable period in 2019, representing a strong recovery, led by the UK and New Zealand markets.

“Despite difficult operating conditions, last financial year saw continued growth for holidays to the Sunshine Coast, which helped build our market share and increase tourism expenditure,” said Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Matt Stoeckel.

“Our marketing campaigns generated strong interest in, and demand for, the Sunshine Coast and this is reflected in the data coming from Tourism Research Australia.

“While domestic travel results remained very positive for the year, the International Visitor Survey showed that we are yet to reach full recovery in overseas holiday visitors. Our direct services from Auckland over the winter months stimulated the trans-Tasman market, and it has been pleasing to see the return of UK, European and Asian visitors to the Sunshine Coast.”