Tourism is big business on the Sunshine Coast.
In the year ending December 2018 the region welcomed 3.9 million overnight visitors, who together contributed $3.3 billion to the local economy, supporting more than 23,000 jobs.
Accommodation providers, tours and transfers, attractions, retailers and hospitality businesses all directly benefit from holiday-makers who book accommodation, eat out at restaurants and visit local attractions.
But tourism also indirectly supports a number of industries in what I like to call tourism ‘cross pollination’.
A great example of this is agriculture.
The expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport will be a game changer for tourism, opening up our region to a number of new markets.
It will also open up a world of opportunities for local producers through air freight.
With the influx of new flights will come opportunities to boost food exports to both domestic and international markets.
Earlier this year it was announced Sunshine Coast Airport had signed a partnership agreement with the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) to do just that.
This will have obvious benefits for producers and will do great things for promoting the Sunshine Coast as a food destination.
Putting the Sunshine Coast’s fresh local seafood such as Mooloolaba prawns or our Hinterland’s famed cheeses on the menus of prestigious restaurants domestically and abroad is some of the best advertising you can get for the region.
The launch of the Sunshine Coast’s newest food festival – The Curated Plate – earlier this month fits in perfectly with that strategy.
Another example of tourism cross-pollination is real estate.
Visitors to the Sunshine Coast often fall in love with our laidback lifestyle and are inspired to invest in property, embark on a sea change or consider relocating or launching business opportunities in the region.
And stretching the connection just a little further, you’d probably ask why would Batteries Sunshine Coast be a Visit Sunshine Coast tourism member? Well, they service golf carts, cars and marine craft, and they can see great value in being closely aligned to the region’s tourism industry.
Yes – directly or indirectly – tourism really is everyone’s business.