Queensland tourism industry on the rise

October 10, 2013 – 12:01AM

Kim Stephens

The Gold Coast has always been central to Queensland's tourism economy.

The Gold Coast has always been central to Queensland’s tourism economy. Photo: State Library of Queensland

Holidaymakers are returning en masse to Queensland, new tourism figures reveal.

More than 400,000 additional tourists flocked to the Sunshine State in the 12 months to June 2012 than the previous year, Tourism and Events Queensland statistics show.

Both interstate and international visitor numbers are up and Queenslanders are also increasingly choosing to travel within their own state.

“There are less people travelling overseas, a lot have done their Asian holidays and they have gone back to traditional places like the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Cairns for their holidays,” Queensland Tourism Industry Council chairman Shane O’Reilly said.


Once Queensland’s economic powerhouse and the envy of all other Australian states, the industry has been in steady decline since 2008 in the face of heightened competition from cheaper Asian destinations.

However, regional snapshots compiled by the tourism body show large increases in Queensland’s leisure tourism hotspots last financial year.

Holidaymaker numbers grew by 9 per cent in Brisbane, 12 per cent on the Gold Coast, 6 per cent on the Sunshine Coast and 11 per cent in tropical north Queensland.

Statewide figures show international visitation grew by 6 per cent.

Overall interstate visitor numbers grew by just three per cent but that figure largely reflected the significant downturn in business traveller numbers due to the rapid decline of the resources sector.

Overall, holidaymaker numbers rose by 10 per cent statewide.

Mr O’Reilly said the statistics were promising but there was still a long climb ahead for the industry.

“The international numbers are mostly driven by the Chinese, a lot of our traditional markets are still not particularly strong,” he said.

“They are coming from such a low ebb, it’s going to take some strong growth for a couple of years to get back to where we used to be.”

The statistics also showed interstate visitors chose to stay longer in Queensland, with the length of the average stay up to 7.4 days from 6.2 days the previous year.

In Brisbane, councillor Julian Simmonds said the rise in visitor numbers was largely driven by an increase in intrastate travel, with many regional Queenslanders choosing to holiday in their capital city.

He said marketing campaigns surrounding events such as the State of Origin and Riverfire had targeted both Queensland and interstate travellers, resulting in longer average stays in the city.

“We have had strong improvement in the length of stays from Queensland visitors,” he said.

“A lot of the packages we are doing up, such as the Show Your Colours campaign that Brisbane Marketing did for State of Origin and the British and Irish Lions tour, mean that people come for one-off events but they are staying for two or three nights instead of just one for the event.”

The Tourism and Events Queensland report says the tourism industry contributes $22 billion to the Queensland economy, $10.55 billion directly and 11.5 billion indirectly.

Brisbane Times

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