Coast on natural high

The latest National Visitor Survey figures measuring domestic travel revealed some interesting results, and if the hip pocket is your first priority, then the record spending of $2.2 billion for the year to the end of June 30, 2018 – up 8% – will be very welcome news.

The region's record overnight visitor expenditure was driven by 11.2% growth in visitor spend per night, which fulfils our aim of establishing the Sunshine Coast as a premium tourism destination.

Attracting higher yielding visitors spending more on tours, activities, events, and in restaurants and shops is a key component of our tourism strategy.

This is why it is so timely for new hotels to be developed and existing hotels upgraded!

Making the Sunshine Coast a first-choice regional conference and incentives destination is a priority because while the closure of the Coolum resort significantly reduced our conference and events space, the two new hotels approved by Council and the upgrade planned to the Novotel will attract great interest from conference organisers.

We shouldn’t underestimate our natural spaces as well. Increasingly, groups are looking for healthy options like trekking, climbing, paddle-boarding and cycling – and the Sunshine Coast is well-endowed in natural assets.

In fact, our pristine resources will be a huge drawcard for discerning travellers from Asia as confirmation six cruise ships will visit next year via Asia’s newest luxury liner – Explorer Dream.  These visits will provide greater awareness of the Sunshine Coast in the emerging tourism markets of Singapore and Hong Kong and act as an accelerator to drive potential demand for direct access to the region once the airport upgrading is completed in 2020.

The possibility is reflected in Australia Zoo’s increase in Asian visitor numbers year on year, with China, Singapore and Japan leading the way. The Irwins’ new Animal Planet TV show is set to spark even more interest in our region from around the world – in particular the US and UK when it hits the screens early next month.