New director elected to the Board

New director elected to Visit Sunshine Coast Board as region reports record tourism result.

A new director has been elected to the Board of Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) following the staging of its Annual General Meeting yesterday.

Chair of Visit Sunshine Coast, David Ryan, announced that Rumba Resort owner and manager, Bill Darby, had been elected to the Board by members of Visit Sunshine Coast, replacing Philip Hart. 

VSC Chair, David Ryan, thanked Phillip Hart for his excellent contribution to the Board and his pioneering work making Sunshine Coast one of Australia’s most popular aquatic destinations through his cruise and dive business, Sunreef.

Mr Ryan said that Bill Darby would be a great asset to the VSC Board: “Bill has served previously on the Board, when it operated as Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd, and was also Tourism & Events Chair of the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce for six years.

“Few people in the region can match Bill’s passion and experience in the local tourism industry, and his insights and advocacy will help ensure that we will continue to best represent the interests of our members in what is an incredibly exciting era for tourism on the Sunshine Coast.” 

Mr Ryan also welcomed the re-election of Sarah Pye for a second term and the appointment of John Hall as a skills-based director, saying their experience would be valuable for the Board’s future deliberations.

Mr Ryan delivered his first annual report for Visit Sunshine Coast, having taking over as Chair of VSC in 2016, following the retirement of former Chair, Grant Hunt. He said the results for 2016-17 were the best ever for the region, reflecting the commitment, dedication and innovation of the entire Sunshine Coast tourism community.

Key features of the year’s results included: 

  • A record 296,000 international arrivals for the year ending June 2017, up 11.6% and contributing $249 million in visitor expenditure to the economy.  
  • A record 3.4 million domestic arrivals and 12.4 million visitor nights (up 4.4%) on the back of strong increases in the interstate market (up 13.9%) and the Brisbane drive market (up 16%). The record visitor numbers contributed $2.06 billion to the Sunshine Coast economy. 
  • Launch of five new brand pillars and the innovative ‘Come to life’ marketing campaign. 
  • Sponsorship of the Sunshine Coast Lightning for the 2017 national netball championships with the team securing the Super Netball Grand Final in their first year. 
  • Establishing the region as a leader in food-based tourism, with the launch of an online Food Trail. 
  • Strengthening the Sunshine Coast’s potential as a quality destination for major conferences and events, culminating in winning the right to host the Australian Event Awards.

“This has been a very special year for the region, with the Sunshine Coast celebrating the 50th anniversary of its naming, so it was very rewarding to be able to deliver these record results for our members and the industry,” said Mr Ryan.

“It is important to note that our international success was achieved despite the Australian dollar appreciating 13% against the US dollar since 2016, and our domestic results were recorded against a backdrop of continued economic and political uncertainty at home.

“The tourism industry has never been more competitive, but the VSC team has delivered a comprehensive and innovative range of campaigns targeting the drive, airline, cruise, meetings and events markets with outstanding success. 

“We are fortunate to have a very supportive partner in Sunshine Coast Council, whose team fully appreciate the potential of tourism to deliver economic and employment growth for the region, and we now have even stronger local representation through the establishment of the Sub Regional Committee, complemented by on our ongoing partnerships with both Tourism Noosa and Destination Gympie Region. 

“I’d like to thank the highly professional and skilled team at VSC, all our members, partners, and the wider tourism community for their tremendous support in 2016/17. 

“With the announcement of the new Aviation Partnership that will complement the re-development of Sunshine Coast Airport, along with the Government’s commitment to upgrade the Bruce Highway, and exciting plans for urban regeneration, we are very well placed to build on recent record results and take the tourism sector to new heights over the next five years.”    

The 2016/2017 Visit Sunshine Coast Annual Report can be viewed via