Kiwi visitors make a beeline for Coast
AN INCREASE of 8.4% in New Zealand visitors has given a healthy boost to international tourism figures for the Sunshine Coast.
The Coast recorded a 1.8% increase in international arrivals in the year to June 30.
The international visitors brought fat wallets with them, spending $214.5 million in 2013-14, up 23.1%.
Sunshine Coast Destination Limited described the New Zealand market as the "star performer" and the main source of international visitors.
Chief executive Simon Ambrose said the SCDL's work in New Zealand was reaping dividends.
"We're very pleased about that because we've been doing a lot of marketing over there," he said.
Mr Ambrose said SCDL had established a permanent presence in New Zealand and was concentrating on press and publicity, trade events, and working closely with Air New Zealand.
He said SCDL had also secured State Government funding for an advertising campaign on New Zealand television which could further boost visitors from across the Tasman.
Graeme Simpson, who manages 84 The Spit, Mooloolaba, with his wife Lucille, said New Zealanders were welcome visitors.
"They're regulars. The others that are regulars are the Melburnians.
"They come every year to get out the weather, all through July, August and well into September. Most of them go before the school holidays."
Andy and Linnie Nevin, of Nelson, in New Zealand, are staying at Headland Tropicana on their second visit to the Sunshine Coast this year.
Mrs Nevin, 39, said they liked to escape New Zealand's winter, and had a long list of reasons why they chose the Sunshine Coast.
"The weather, the lifestyle, the shopping, the cafes, the running, the bike tracks..." she said.
Mrs Nevin said a good exchange rate had made a Sunshine Coast holiday better value this year this year.
She said she and her husband sometimes flew direct to the Sunshine Coast, but more economical direct flights would make the region even more attractive.