BUMPER: Main Beach still packing in the visitors
BUMPER: Main Beach still packing in the visitors Geoff Potter


NOOSA'S Main Beach has been busier than the Gold Coast over the peak holidays as the latest tourism figures show a strong growth in visitor spend.

Lifesaving figures for the recent new year long weekend break saw 16,176 swimmers hit Noosa Main Beach and compared to the Gold Coast's busiest of 12,843 at Paradise Point.

Lifesavers at Surfers Paradise had to look out for 10,904.

All this reinforces the continued surge in Noosa's tourism stocks with Tourism Noosa with CEO Steve McPharlin confirming the latest Tourism Research Australia figures showed a record expenditure by Australians holidaying here.

"The Noosa region has benefited from strong increases in visitor spend,” Mr McPharlin said.

"While spending in the region by Australian and overseas visitors increased, visitor numbers remained steady, aligning with Tourism Noosa's focus on attracting visitors who will stay longer in the region and spend more on activities and experiences.”

Mr McPharlin said this all helps to "disperse the benefits of tourism across a range of local operators and locations”.

"The UK remains Noosa's number one international visitor market, while growth in spend from New Zealand and the USA reinforces Tourism Noosa's global strategy which focusses on these important inbound markets,” he said.

Last year the Noosa region welcomed two million overnight and day-trip visitors who spent almost $900 million in one year period.

A more detailed Noosa break down of the latest tourism research figures will be available next week, but the overall performance was positive news that comes ahead of a dedicated push by Tourism Noosa into the lucrative US market.

This will see the group's international trade specialist Vynka Hutton heading to the United States later this month to attend events with Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Australia.

"We are also partnering with Tourism Australia and Australian Traveller magazine on a luxury travel campaign in the US,” Mr McPharlin said.

The Noosa boost was reflected by strong growth in Queensland's burgeoning international tourism sector has seen the Sunshine State out-perform both New South Wales.

"Tourists are spending more than ever before in Queensland. The figures released today show our strategy to grow Queensland's tourism industry is working,” Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said.

"International visitor expenditure grew 11.5 per cent - more than double the Australian rate.

"We also saw record highs in international visitor numbers, with 2,762,000 visitors spending $5.9 billion in Queensland.”

Ms Jones said China remained Queensland's largest market for international visitors.

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