MUCH TO OFFER: The Sunshine Coast has been a bright light on the tourism front.
MUCH TO OFFER: The Sunshine Coast has been a bright light on the tourism front.

Coast leads the way when it comes to visitors

MORE Brisbanites travelling to see family and friends have helped elevate the Sunshine Coast tourism industry towards a record-high year.

The Coast is leading the charge when it comes to visitor numbers, recording a 10.9% increase in domestic visitors in 12 months, a National Visitor Survey revealed yesterday.

In the 12 months to September, a record 2.9 million overnight visitors came to the region - an increase of 288,000 on the previous 12 months.

The drive market still remains the biggest for the Coast, propped up by 1.5 million Brisbanites choosing to visit the region - up 10% on the previous 12 months.

Tourism and Events Queensland said most Brisbane guests were visiting family and friends.

A key interstate market, Melbourne lifted its visitor numbers to the Coast by 14.1% - to 170,000 - for the 12 months.

Combined with the international visitor statistics released last week, the Coast is up 10.8%, recording a total of 3.2 million overnight visitors to the year ending in September.

"The double-digit growth from both the domestic and international markets is phenomenal and demonstrates we are punching well above our weight," Sunshine Coast Destination Limited chief executive Simon Ambrose said.

"This is a great way to cap off a tremendous year for tourism on the Sunshine Coast, and our increased activity promoting the region during the past 12 months is beginning to show results."

For Perth family the Creaghs, the Coast has been the choice destination for a pre-Christmas break for 20 years.

Luke Creagh, wife Sarah and 18-month-old son Charlie were enjoying the sun during a rain break this week, alongside Luke's four siblings, their children and his parents.

The whole gang, who live in Perth and parts of regional Queensland, all meet in Mooloolaba every year, usually booking out the Mirra Chana on Parkyn Parade.

"We always try and catch up once a year and the Sunshine Coast has been a long tradition for us," Mr Creagh said.

"The entire family comes. It's our meeting spot because we've always had an affinity with the place right back to my childhood."

While Coast tourism figures continue to soar, Queensland tourism has fallen further behind its southern competitors, with Victoria leading the national charge.

According to two Tourism Research Australia reports, Queensland's tourism growth in the past year has lagged behind the national average in both the domestic and international sectors.


Where tourists are going in Qld

Year ending September 2014, domestic visitors (in order of visitor increases)

  • 1. Southern Great Barrier Reef 1.77 million visitors, 11.5% increase, worth $924 million
  • 2. Sunshine Coast 2.93 million 10.9% increase, worth $1.8 billion
  • 3. Brisbane 5.23 million visitors 3.8% increase, worth $3.2 billion
  • 4. Fraser Coast 508,000 visitors, 3.2% increase, worth $333 million

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