Sunshine Coast international visitors hit record high

Not only has the Sunshine Coast experienced its hottest winter on record, but it has broken another record and attracted the highest ever increase in international visitors with 296,000 arrivals visiting to the year ending June 2017, up 11.6% and contributing $249 million in visitor expenditure to the economy.

The International Visitor Statistics were released today by Tourism Research Australia and show New Zealand remains the Sunshine Coast’s largest inbound market, growing 12.2% to 71,000 visitors.

The region attracted 58,000 visitors from the UK up 6.7%, 36,000 from Germany growing 12% and 19,000 visited from the US increasing 0.2% year on year. Asian arrivals totalled 21,000 while the region attracted 15,000 visitors from Scandinavia increasing by 38.5% and 13,000 from Canada up 21.5%.

CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) Simon Latchford said the unprecedented growth and number of international tourists arriving was certainly heating up.

“The Sunshine Coast experienced 11.6% growth in international visitors against a backdrop of a state-wide increase of 5.6% and a national increase of 8.7%. This really highlights the commitment by all Sunshine Coast operators and tourism bodies in marketing the region.

“The region remains one of Queensland’s most popular destinations for international visitors – and rightly so – Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Coolum and Noosa through to Rainbow Beach have been established for many decades as some of Australia’s favourite beach destinations; but what has been particularly encouraging is the interest in our Hinterland attractions – the adventure options, health retreats, the historic Hinterland villages and the incredible richness of our food producers.

“It has been the Sunshine Coast’s collective marketing campaigns working together with Sunshine Coast Council, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), key traveltrade and our airline partners such as Air New Zealand that continues to see consistent growth from the top four international source markets: New Zealand, the UK, Germany and the USA.

“None of this is possible without consistent campaign activity in New Zealand, a dedicated team approach of our Australia’s Nature Coast (ANC) partnership with collective marketing programs in UK and Europe through to new campaign partnerships in Canada delivering and demonstrating fantastic results for our region.

“Looking ahead, our strategic approach for 2017 to 2020 is to continue to focus on top performing western markets while we also start to expand and focus our efforts on the new and emerging markets in Scandinavia, France and South East Asia.

“For example, we have run multiple campaigns selling the Sunshine Coast in Singapore over the past months partnering with TEQ and Singapore Airlines on initiatives and we also joined forces with ANC partners to promote the combined regions as part of the Flight Centre Australia campaign that ran during July and August. I have no doubt, we will start to see results from these campaigns in future releases of data and look forward to welcoming more visitors to the Sunshine Coast from South East Asia.

“Finally and most importantly, recognising Sunshine Coast Councils’ expertise and efforts in securing major events alongside their support in allowing us to grow international capacity has made the increases in international visitors a reality,” added Mr Latchford.

The statistics are released as VSC launches a new ‘Signature Experiences Guide’ for the trade and leisure industry. The guide is designed as a motivational tool featuring itineraries and destination-specific hero experiences to inspire key distribution partners to create new touring itineraries featuring the Sunshine Coast. The guide will be distributed at trade events and roadshows and can be viewed here.

Summary of international visitor statistics to year ending June 2017
Total visitors 296,000 increase 11.6%
Holiday visitors 233,000 increase 11.4%
Expenditure $249 million increase 1.3%
Total 3.04 million nights up 7.8%

NZ total visitors 71,000 increase 12.2%
UK total visitors 58,000 increase 6.7%
Germany total visitors 36,000 increase 12%
US total visitors 19,000 increase 0.2%
Asia inc Japan & China total visitors 21,000
Scandinavia total visitors 15,000 up 38.5%
Canada total visitors 13,000 up 21.5%

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