UK takes over No.1 spot for international visitors
  • Wednesday 02 September 2015
Bulcock Beach

The Sunshine Coast continued its double digit international visitor growth with a 10.6% increase in overseas arrivals, fuelled by Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) promotions in northern Europe and New Zealand.

The figures were announced today as part of the International Visitor Survey (IVS) released by Tourism Research Australia.

The UK (up 23.7% to 59,000) took over as the Sunshine Coast’s international source market, followed closely by New Zealand (58,000), with Germany (30.6%) once again producing the highest growth figures.

The strong growth in international arrivals saw the Sunshine Coast attract 257,000 visitors for the year until June 30, 2015.

New Zealand continued to be a powerful contributor, producing 58,000 visitors, while increasing awareness in the Singapore, Malaysia and China markets saw Asian arrivals increase 7% for the year.

The Sunshine Coast’s double-digit growth was part of an impressive overall performance by Queensland in the International Visitor Survey. Queensland was up 7.7% overall, and every Queensland region recorded positive growth, with Brisbane up 9.8%, Gold Coast 6.2%, Tropical North Queensland 9.8%, Whitsundays 10.2% and Fraser Coast up 14.1%.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson, who participated in an overseas investment roadshow that included the UK and Germany in June, said the results were a “great result for our region and a reward for the hard work being done by Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd”.

“Everyone appreciates how important tourism is as an economic driver on the Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“In our new diversified economy, tourism will continue to be very important and it’s very pleasing to see such strong results from the some outstanding work that is being done in this sector by the many people who are dedicated to growing our tourist numbers.”

Sunshine Coast Destination (SCDL) CEO Simon Ambrose said that SCDL campaigns in Europe – especially Germany – as well as New Zealand were producing sustained benefits for all local areas within the Sunshine Coast region.

“The benefits of targeting mature markets such as Germany, the UK and New Zealand – which really understand and appreciate the diversity of what the Sunshine Coast offers – continues to pay dividends,”  Mr Ambrose said.

“The English may have won the Ashes but they’re voting with their feet and escaping England to come to the Sunshine Coast!

“We are also seeing the benefits of so many English, Kiwis and Europeans coming to live on the Sunshine Coast as that has significantly increased the number of friends and relatives coming to the region over the past year. The arrival of direct Sydney-Qantas air services from December will increase that flow even further.

“This weekend we host a vast number of European travel media for Queensland on Stage, which will showcase everything from swimming with whales and the Great Beach Drive to Mooloolaba prawns and Woombye cheese, and this will further fuel interest in the destination in the European markets.

“We expect the New Zealand figures to accelerate in the second half of the year and through to 2016 as a result of increased flights and SCDL’s major promotions in the New Zealand market. Already July arrival figures at Sunshine Coast Airport are showing double-digit growth for Air New Zealand flights.”

The optimism for continued strong New Zealand inbound growth was shared by Sara MacLeod, Director of Sales New Zealand, Mantra Group, the largest hotel operator on the Sunshine Coast with brands such as Mantra, Peppers and Outrigger.

"The SCDL campaigns in New Zealand have really driven substantial business from New Zealand to all areas of the Sunshine Coast,” she said. “It has captured the imagination of New Zealanders and has translated into year-round growth for the destination," she said.

"The campaigns have certainly resonated in the New Zealand market, with the Sunshine Coast’s attractions, diversity and laid-back feel producing a very positive response."

Mr Ambrose said that a record number of events organised by the Sunshine Coast Council and promoted by SCDL over the next six months would also have a major impact, while SCDL’s joint promotion with Fraser Coast Opportunities to market Australia’s Nature Coast internationally would have profound and long-term benefits for tourism operators throughout the region.

Figures in brief (International Visitor arrivals to June 2015)

  • Sunshine Coast up 10.6% to 257,000; holiday visitors up 10.4% to 194,000
  • UK now number 1 international market up 23.7% to 59,000;
  • Germany fastest growing: up 30.6% to 32,000 visitors
  • NZ pipped by UK, but inbound still grows 0.3% to 58,000 visitors
  • Asia inbound up 7%
  • Australia’s Nature Coast popularity boosts Fraser Coast international arrivals by 14.1%