Fraser Coast tourist numbers plunge almost 20%
A COMBINATION of the Fraser Coast's heavy reliance on the drive tourism market and the flood-prone Bruce Hwy have been blamed for a major decrease in domestic tourists from March 2012 to March 2013.
The latest tourism figures released by Tourism Queensland show visitors on holiday decreased by 19%, the biggest drop recorded across the state.
Overall visitor numbers, including those on business and people visiting family and friends, dropped by 12%.
Tourism Fraser Coast acting general manager Robbie Cornelius said the Australia Day floods, which cut the Bruce Hwy in dozens of places and even isolated Hervey Bay for several days, had a significant impact.
Mr Cornelius expected upgrading the Bruce Hwy would be a key focus for the new entity Fraser Coast Opportunities when it came into effect in July.
"We're not the only region hugely reliant on the Bruce Hwy and tourism certainly isn't the only industry reliant on the Bruce Hwy," he said.
Both international and domestic tourist numbers dropped significantly in the year to March, with international visitors down by 10%.
With the tourism industry almost fully recovered from the January floods, Mr Cornelius said he expected stronger visitor figures in the next quarter.
He said the launch of the Harvey and the Humpbacks whale-watching campaign would help to boost numbers in the latter half of the year.