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The Sunshine Coast attracted the highest ever increase in international visitors with 231,000 arrivals visiting last year up 19.9% and contributing $266 million in visitor expenditure to the economy.

The International Visitor Statistics were released today by Tourism Research Australia and showed the US continuing to trump other inbound markets with a 48.5% increase in visitors, with Germany growing 26.1%, Asia 25.9%, and Scandinavia 14.9%. The UK market has turned around and is now tracking positive growth of 6.4 % while New Zealand remained the Sunshine Coast’s largest inbound market, growing 9.2% in 2016 to 66,000 visitors in the 2016 year.

CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast Simon Latchford said the unprecedented growth and number of international tourists arriving in a single year was showing no sign of slowing down in 2017.

“Today’s International Visitor Survey results highlight the Sunshine Coast is exactly where our international guests want their heads to hit beds, with nearly 300,000 internationals staying 2.86 million nights, representing a 6.3 % year on year,” Mr Latchford said.

“The Sunshine Coast experienced 36.4% growth in international visitor expenditure against a backdrop of a state wide increase of 4% and a national increase of 8.1%. This really highlights the commitment by all Sunshine Coast operators and tourism bodies in marketing the region – they deserve great praise for their exceptional efforts.

“The region remains one of Queensland’s most popular destinations for international visitors – and rightly so – Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Coolum and Noosa have been established for many decades as some of Australia’s favourite beach destinations, but what has been particularly encouraging is the interest in our Hinterland attractions – the adventure options, health retreats, the historic Hinterland villages and the incredible richness of our food producers.

“The way we market our tourism product overseas is starting to pay off with isit Sunshine Coast representatives now located in New Zealand, Singapore and Europe. From strategic partnerships with Tourism and Events Queensland, tourism agencies and airlines through to working with industry to develop, market and promote our world‑class attractions, accommodation and food sector continues to increase our global footprint.

“Finally and most importantly, recognising Sunshine Coast Councils’ expertise and efforts in securing major events alongside their support in allowing us to grow international capacity has made the increases in international visitors a reality,” said Mr Latchford.

  • Summary of international visitor statistics to year ending December 2016
    Total visitors 291,000 increase 16.2%
  • Holiday visitors 231,000 increase 19.9%
  • Expenditure $266 million increase 36.4%
  • Total holiday nights 2.86 million nights up 6.3%
  • NZ total visitors 66,000 increase 9.2%
  • UK total visitors 58,000 increase 6.4%
  • Germany total visitors 36,000 increase 26.1%
  • US total visitors 22,000 increase 48.5%
  • Asia inc Japan & China total visitors 24,000 increase 25.9%
  • Scandinavia total visitors 14,000 up 14.9%

The statistics are released as Visit Sunshine Coast prepares to attend Qld on Tour China in Hangzhou from today to 18 March.
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