Interstate visitor growth propels Sunshine Coast to all-time records

Massive growth in visitor numbers from Sydney (up 33.1%), Melbourne (up 29.9%) and from within Queensland (up 13.3%) headlined an all-time record result for Sunshine Coast’s tourism sector for the year to March 2019.

For the year, the Sunshine Coast attracted 3.9 million visitors (up 15%) and $2.5 billion in expenditure to the Sunshine Coast economy – growth of 22.7% compared to the year end March 2018.

The National Visitor Survey* (NVS), which is produced by Tourism Research Australia, revealed a suite of visitor records for the Sunshine Coast including:

  • Overnight Visitor Expenditure - $2.5 billion up 22.7% (record)
  • Total visitors - 3.9 million, up 15% (record)
  • Total nights - 13.4 million, up 11.7%
  • Holiday visitors – 2.1 million visitors up 12.5% (record)
  • Business – 363,000 visitors up 34.7% (record)
  • Total Intrastate Visitors – 2.9 million visitors, up 13.3% (record)
  • Brisbane – 1.9 million visitors, up 12.3% (record)
  • Sydney – 253,000 visitors, up 33.1% (record)
  • Melbourne – 236,000 visitors, up 29.9% (record)
  • New South Wales – 444,000 visitors, up 18%
  • Victoria – 354,000 visitors, up 23.1% (record)

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said it was an outstanding result for the region’s tourism industry.

“There are some extraordinary numbers included in the National Visitor Survey, and the record results are a product of the tremendous co-operation and support from Sunshine Coast Council and the region’s tourism organisations and operators,” Mr Latchford said.

“Our interstate and drive market campaigns have clearly resonated, as has the work done by the Major Events Board in partnership with Business Events Sunshine Coast, which has helped produce a remarkable spike in business visitor growth (up 34.7%). This will continue to grow with the recent opening of the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre.

“The Aviation Partnership between Visit Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Airport and Tourism Noosa has encouraged the strong interstate figures, and the new, additional daily Qantas service will help boost both domestic and international visitor numbers in future surveys.

“The NVS figures follow similarly positive international tourism growth, with the latest figures showing 20.5% growth in international visitor expenditure for the same period.

“These figures emphasise the urgent need for new branded accommodation. The formal announcement today of Pro-Invest’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites in the new Maroochydore CBD precinct is very welcome, but the Coast needs many quality internationally-branded projects like this if we are to meet the demand from visitors. With the launch of Sunshine Coast Airport’s runway next year, that urgency will become even greater.

“We are looking forward to a bumper second half of the year, with events such as the Queensland Garden Expo and The Curated Plate food festival in August providing fresh reasons for people to visit for the first time or return.

“The region has also played host to some of Australia’s highest-profile media outlets including MasterChef, Better Homes & Gardens and the Today Show, along with considerable print and online travel media, all of which will feed into new demand for the rest of the year.”


*New NVS methodology, 2019

Note: Tourism Research Australia has transitioned NVS sampling to 100% mobile phone interviews (from 50% mobile phone/50% landline) to reflect current phone usage trends. The change in methodology has seen a break in series, and may cause variations in comparison figures. 2017 and 2018 estimates have been revised to align with the latest release of ABS population projections and will differ slightly from previously published estimates. For further information, see NVS Methodology.