Visit Sunshine Coast out in force at Australian Tourism Exchange

Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) along with 22 tourism operators and partners is this week showcasing the region at Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE). Held at the Sydney International Convention Centre, this is the largest contingent of Sunshine Coast operators to attend the travel trade show and demonstrates a commitment to growing the international market.

Attendance at ATE follows the Sunshine Coast attracting the highest ever increase in international visitors with 231,000 arrivals visiting last year up 19.9% and contributing $266 million in visitor expenditure to the economy.

The unprecedented growth and number of international tourists arriving in a single year is showing no sign of slowing down in the future. In fact, the popularity has spurred a wave of new tourism development plans, including the Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY) set to undergo its biggest transformation in its history.

The expansion will include a new 2450-metre-long and 45-metre-wide runway, which will cater for large aircraft including the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 and 787. The terminal will also be upgraded. The extension follows the official recognition of Sunshine Coast Airport as an ‘International Airport’ in 2016. Construction will get underway this year and is scheduled for completion by 2020.

CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast, Simon Latchford, said the region’s diversity of attractions and events was providing the momentum for international tourism growth across the region.

“The region remains one of Queensland’s most popular destinations for international visitors – and rightly so – Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Coolum and Noosa 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 and new food trail.

“The way we market our tourism product overseas is also starting to pay off with Visit Sunshine Coast representatives now located in New Zealand, Singapore and Europe. From strategic partnerships with Tourism and Events Queensland, 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.

“Most importantly, the expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport will be a ‘game changer’ for the region’s international growth. The new runway and upgraded facilities will lay the groundwork to connect the region to more destinations and markets nationwide and internationally. There has already been interest from Asian based airlines and Visit Sunshine Coast’s International Marketing Manager, Rachel Meyer, is now based in Singapore to cultivate our Asian trade relations. This complements our strong presence and activity in our ‘traditional’ inbound markets such as New Zealand, Europe and America, which produced such great results in 2016.

“Our stand at ATE is appropriately themed aviation with our operators out in force as well as representatives from the Sunshine Coast Airport and Council attending, as we work collectively to build capacity and demand for completion of the airport in 2020,” added Mr Latchford.

Just as the Sunshine Coast officially turns 50 this year and will celebrate the anniversary with a series of events across the region, Tourism Australia is also celebrating 50 years of marketing Australia to the world at ATE 2017.

VSC is joined by other partners and operators from the Sunshine Coast, selling the region including: Aussie World, Australia Zoo, Big Kart Track, Coolum Surf School, Destination Gympie Region, Eco Safaris Queensland, Epic Ocean Adventures, Glass House Mountains Ecolodge, Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours, Live It Tours, Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, Newport Mooloolaba, Noosa Blue Resort, Noosa Residences, Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort, Rumba Beach Resort, Sunreef Mooloolaba, The Discovery Group, The Ginger Factory, Tourism Noosa and Tropical Treks.

What is Australian Tourism Exchange?
Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) is Australia's largest annual travel and tourism business-to-business event. In 2017, ATE brings together more than 2,500 travel industry delegates from more than 30 countries, making it the biggest event in nearly a decade.