WHAT WE NEED: Simon Butler, Ellie Butler, Sue Robson, and Tilly, Andy and Sharon Butler from the Isle of Wight enjoy New Year’s Day at Alexandra Beach.
WHAT WE NEED: Simon Butler, Ellie Butler, Sue Robson, and Tilly, Andy and Sharon Butler from the Isle of Wight enjoy New Year’s Day at Alexandra Beach. Patrick Woods

Coast tourism on high thanks to low petrol price and dollar

THE falling Australian dollar and low petrol prices have helped create a bumper start to 2015 for the tourism industry.

Sunshine Coast Destinations Ltd CEO Simon Ambrose said the combination had worked favourably for the Sunshine Coast, encouraging more people to holiday domestically.

"The low Australian dollar means people are less inclined, to some extent, to travel overseas and the low petrol prices mean there is a lot more fluidity in people driving," he said.

"I went to Brisbane for a function (on Saturday) and was amazed at how many people were travelling north with caravans and cars loaded up with surfboards and boats.

"There is a huge amount of traffic going up to our region and it shows we are still in holiday mode and still very keen to have a break."

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

Domestic tourists to the Sunshine Coast spend an average $618 during their stay, generating $1.8 billion for the region annually.

International tourism rose 9.4% on the Sunshine Coast last year and injected $210 million into the economy.

With the New Zealand dollar continuing to track towards parity, buying just over 96 cents Aussie yesterday, Mr Ambrose said Kiwis would continue to venture across 'the ditch' to holiday on our shores to maximise their spending power.

"September figures showed a huge increase of New Zealanders coming back to the Sunshine Coast and that will continue to flow into the next quarter as they come to enjoy our sunshine in the winter months," he said. "The low Australian dollar also means greater capacity for international visitors from the UK, Germany and Europe to enjoy a holiday here too."


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