Increased accessibility and launch of new Convention Centre drive record expenditure for Sunshine Coast tourism


Air New Zealand flight at Sunshine Coast Airport

Additional flights to Sunshine Coast Airport and the opening of the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre have contributed significantly to record tourism expenditure in the region in the year to September 2019.

The figures were announced today as part of the release of Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey (IVS) and National Visitor Survey (NVS).

National Visitor Survey (for the year to September, 2019)

The Sunshine Coast achieved record visitor nights and expenditure in the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS), measuring domestic travel to the region for the year to September, 2019.

Key figures included (yearly growth):

  • Overnight Visitor Expenditure: $2.6b (up 12.5% - record)
  • Total Nights: 14.2 million (up 17.4% - record)
  • Total Visitation: 3.97 million (up 14.8%)
  • Holiday Visitation: 2.1 million (up 9.5%)
  • Business Visitation: 379,000 visitors (up 34.6% - record)

These results were built on strong intrastate and interstate travel, with stand-out performances including (yearly growth):

  • Intrastate: 2.9 million (up 10.9%)
  • Interstate: 1 million (up 27.3%)
  • Brisbane: 1.8 million (up 4.9%)
  • Intrastate regional: 263,000 (up 28.9%)
  • Gold Coast: 258,000 (up 23%)
  • Southern Queensland Country: 224,000 (up 20.6%)
  • Sydney: 275,000 (up 44.8%)
  • Regional NSW: 237,000 (up 26.2%)
  • Total NSW: 512,000 (up 35.5%)
  • Melbourne: 248,000 (up 31.1%)
  • Victoria: 382,000 (up 23.3%)

Commenting on the results, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford, said the figures reflected the benefits of increased, and enhanced, airline services to Sunshine Coast Airport, as well as the opening of Sunshine Coast Convention Centre.

“The additional Qantas service from Sydney has helped considerably to attract more corporate and conference travellers, with business travel increasing by 34.6 percent in the year to September 2019,” said Mr Latchford.

“The growth rate of 44.8 percent out of Sydney highlights the benefits of increased capacity into Sunshine Coast Airport, and we can anticipate interstate travel to continue its growth once the new runway opens at the Airport in May. It will enable both greater frequency of flights and larger capacity.

“The launch of the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre is reflected in the figures, and we can expect the full impact of its opening to come through in future NVS figures.

“The rise in domestic visitor numbers has been building over the past three years, and reflects the greater understanding and appreciation of the destination. In particular, the promotion of the region’s diversity – such as its evolving food and arts culture – is reaping dividends.”

International Visitor Survey (for the year to September 2019)

International overnight visitor expenditure grew by 14 percent to $284.3m, exceeding the Australian average international expenditure growth rate of 5 percent, with 319,000 overseas visitors coming to the Sunshine Coast in the year to September 2019.

The average spend per visitor was up 14.4% to $890, and up 8.6 percent to $99 per night. Average length of stay grew to an average of 9 nights per visitor.

Best performing markets to the Sunshine Coast included (yearly change):

  • New Zealand: 78,000 (up 7%)
  • U.K: 60,000 (down 1.8%)
  • North America: 39,000 (up 11.7%)
  • Asia: 36,000 (up 12.5%)
  • Germany: 31,000 (up 1.6%)
  • U.S: 25,000 (up 23.6%)

Simon Latchford said that the New Zealand market continued to prove the region’s best-performing, a trend that was set to grow even further with the extension of direct services between Auckland and Sunshine Coast from April.

“The Sunshine Coast is now a regular destination for discerning New Zealand travellers, and we are seeing increases in business, conference and leisure travellers,” said Mr Latchford.

“The success of the market is very important as it will highlight the potential of additional services across the Tasman once the new runway is inaugurated.

“The expansion of Air New Zealand services makes access to the Sunshine Coast from North America even more convenient. A New York traveller can fly to the Sunshine Coast with just one stop in Auckland. The same applies for other travellers coming to the Sunshine Coast via Sydney, with the new Qantas service added last year perfectly timed to connect with the majority of incoming morning international flights.

“Naturally we are mindful of the potential negative publicity surrounding the bushfires in Australia over summer, but in co-operation with Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Australia we are working hard to clarify the situation in our key international markets. We are confident that any disruption will be contained.”

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