What will this year have in store for the tourism sector? Some of these trends have already started to emerge, while some are just around the corner.
- An already popular wedding destination, the Sunshine Coast will experience an influx fuelled by same sex couples being able to exchange vows.
- The nostalgia of rail lines is giving way to an emerging industry of train-based tourism. Good news for our region as the Mary Valley Rattler is due to get back on the tracks in Autumn 2018.
- Wellness travel is growing 50% faster than regular travel, according to a recent survey performed by the Global Wellness Summit. Visitors are choosing trips that add to their mental and/or physical wellbeing and the Sunshine Coast is ideally placed to compete in this space with an abundance of natural experiences, healthy produce, spas and retreats.
- Travelers are becoming thrill seekers wanting bigger and better extreme adventure options to brag to their friends about such as swimming with whales, skydiving or flying in a seaplane over the Coast or even diving with sharks at Sea Life.
- Glamping continues to be the ‘buzzword’ accommodation with a difference – experiencing the great outdoors with some (or all) of the comforts of home. Rivershore Resort is the latest and greatest, set on the Maroochy River.
- In the latest statistics to the year ending September 2017, 262,000 domestic visitors came to the Sunshine Coast for a business trip (conference or meeting). There is a trend for more travellers to merge business and leisure otherwise known as bleisure.
- Cruising is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors across the globe. The Sunshine Coast is relatively new in the cruising industry, but in a short period of time, we have gone from strength to strength in proving to be a new alternative and popular destination for cruise itineraries. For example, in 2015-16, we welcomed 7 cruise ships valued at $1.2 million dollars. For the past year, this has steadily increased to 9 cruise ships and a total of nearly 40,000 passengers growing by 28.6%. Showing no signs of slowing down, an additional 12 ships are scheduled to visit during 2018/2019.
- As recognised by Tourism Australia, ‘culinary tourism’ continues to be a hit as travellers are motivated by delicacies on offer. We will be dialling up and highlighting the innovative producers and array of cooking schools, restaurants and farmers markets during 2018.
- Lastly, people continue to seek authentic tours and experiences that can’t be accessed everywhere. Driving along the beach north of Noosa to Rainbow Beach, kayaking amongst dolphins or riding a horse along the beach; the Sunshine Coast is brimming with surprising activities.