The latest International Visitor Survey released today shows a record 301,000 people visited the Sunshine Coast in the 12 months to December 2017, up 3.4 per cent on the previous year.
Released by Tourism Research Australia, the survey also shows total international nights in the region during the past year increased to 3.1 million up 7.2 per cent, with an average stay of 10.2 nights.
Fittingly, the Sunshine Coast’s record figures were supported from the key nations of New Zealand (65,000), UK (60,000) and Canada (14,000); as the region looks to welcome nine international teams and over 500 visiting athletes and officials in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games.
Teams using the Sunshine Coast as their pre-Games training base include Scotland, England, Wales, New Zealand, Isle of Man, Singapore, Niue and St Helena along with a number of athletes from domestic sporting teams, including Australia’s Olympic champion women’s sevens rugby squad.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford was delighted to crack 300,000 international arrivals for the first time.
“It is very pleasing to see our campaigns and work with key partners in primary markets paying off. From the traditional areas of Europe including the UK, the Sunshine Coast attracted 162,000 visitors with an increase of 6.8 per cent through to work in newer markets such as Asia recording 25,000 arrivals up 4 per cent.
“Although this is a record result for the Sunshine Coast’s tourism industry, there is still work to be done to increase length of stay and yield. As we move closer to the completion of the new airport redevelopment, support for more appropriate tourism developments and accommodation stock will assist to increase international incentive travel and special interest, high end travel (based on our nature and food).
“The Commonwealth Games presents another great international marketing opportunity for the region and Sunshine Coast Council must be commended on their work in attracting over 500 athletes from nine countries to prepare for the event.
“Not only will it be the millions of dollars injected into the economy during the visit, but if the teams feel welcome and have a great experience; it will be the word of mouth, media spotlight and return visitation that can expect to deliver longer term benefits.
“Working with partners, we have been able to leverage this initiative with promotions in the UK including two Scottish competition winners to arrive next week and enjoy a 12-day ultimate Sunshine Coast trip and opportunity to meet the Scottish team,” added Mr Latchford.
The Sunshine Coast’s Novotel Twin Waters Resort has been particularly successful in attracting international and domestic sporting teams to the resort, with its extensive grounds including a full-sized football pitch, running circuits, a large lagoon and adjacent beach which make the resort the ideal venue for a wide range of sporting and conference groups.
General Manager of Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Warwick Kahl said the past year was exciting for conferencing at the resort with increases seen in all financial quarters, well above previous delegate numbers and with a continued uplift of international delegates.
“In addition to conferencing, we continued to focus on hosting national and international sporting teams as they were able to take advantage of the resort’s Sunshine Coast location and onsite training field and gym facilities.
“This month, the resort will welcome Scotland and the Isle of Man for pre-Commonwealth Games camps. This presents the perfect platform to market the resort as the preferred Sunshine Coast accommodation provider for future national and international teams and events,” said Mr Kahl.
For more information and to access the International Visitor Survey go to: www.tra.gov.au