International visitors continue to flock to the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast attracted 288,000 international visitors to the year ending March 2017, up 11.6% and contributing $240 million in visitor expenditure to the economy.

The International Visitor Statistics were released today by Tourism Research Australia and shows New Zealand remains the Sunshine Coast’s largest inbound market, growing 5.5% to 66,000 visitors.

The region attracted 57,000 visitors from the UK up 1.4%, 35,000 from Germany growing 14.9% and 19,000 visited from the US increasing 11.8% year on year. There was also 21,000 Asian visitors up 0.6% and 15,000 visitors from Scandinavia increasing by 43.1%.

CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) Simon Latchford said the unprecedented growth and number of international tourists arriving was showing no sign of slowing down.

“I think the tourism industry has had a tough couple of years where the downward turn in the economic cycle has impacted the region and this is now turning around to show positive increases and it has really been a combination of many factors aligning including a favourable Aussie dollar which has seen record international numbers for Australia, Queensland and a positive flow on effect for the Sunshine Coast.

“The world events hosted on the Coast last year including IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, Vaa World Outrigger Sprint Championship and Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games contributed to our position and boosted international visitation and visibility.

“It has also been the Sunshine Coast’s collective marketing campaigns through trade partners that continues to see consistent growth from our top four international source markets: New Zealand, the UK, Germany and the USA.

“From strategic partnerships with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), tourism agencies and airlines through to working with industry to develop, market and promote our world class attractions, accommodation and food sector – continues to increase our global footprint.

“Crucially and looking ahead, our team is laying the ground work today to build global interest, capacity and demand for the new Sunshine Coast Airport to be completed, in just over three years’ time,” added Mr Latchford.

Snapshot of International Activity

New Zealand
A promotional campaign, ‘Sunshine by Lunchtime,’ was launched in mid-May by VSC, TEQ and Air New Zealand to drive bookings for the non-stop seasonal service flying 7 July till 29 October between Auckland and the Sunshine Coast.

VSC in conjunction with GOWAY and Air New Zealand participated in the ‘Go Beyond the Ordinary’ digital campaign (December 16 to March 17) targeting both first timer and globetrotter US and Canadians to travel beyond the gateways.
VSC was a presenting partner of the Steve Irwin Gala Dinner in LA held mid-May. The event attracted a mix of celebrities, entertainment media and top tier travel representatives. VSC had the opportunity to showcase the destination to attendees through video presentations, branding on materials, eco-postcard gift on each place setting and an auction prize of a trip to the region.

In conjunction with TEQ UK and other regional partners the ‘I know just the place…’ campaign is live May-June 2017 with UK tour operators, Austravel/Trailfinders and includes Conde Nast Travel Magazine print and online supplements supported with digital/native content. 

In conjunction with TEQ and other regional partners, VSC has joined with DERTOUR to promote the region via an out of home and digital campaign launching May 2017. Tram car billboards are now displayed across Stuttgart Railway tramcar network for 12 month period. Webinar training, exclusive offer flyer, point of sale package via travel agencies and online teaser homepage will also form part of the promotion.

For more information about International Visitor Statistics and to view the full report visit: