UK and US increases propel international visitor growth
  • Wednesday 02 December 2015

Sunshine Coast continued its strong international growth, with the latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) statistics showing 4.5% increase in overseas visitors (to 256,000) for the year ending September 2015.

Soft business travel figures were offset by a substantial 7.4% increase in holidaymakers.

Queensland’s IVS statistics grew 6.3% to 2.3 million and holiday visitors were up 5.5% to 1.5 million.

The American market was the star performer in the quarter three IVS Statistics, with 20.9% growth, and with Bindi Irwin providing massive profile for Queensland and the Sunshine Coast in her triumphant Dancing with the Stars performance, there is excellent potential for sustained USA growth in 2016.

The UK market continued its stellar rise, building on its position as the Sunshine Coast’s leading inbound market with 17.3% growth to 59,000 visitors under the umbrella of Australia’s Nature Coast. The UK was fractionally ahead of the New Zealand market, which is set for major growth as a result of the start of direct services over summer from Auckland via Air New Zealand.

Continental Europe was up by 3.9%, on the back of strong performances from France, Italy and Scandinavia.

Simon Ambrose, CEO of the newly rebranded Visit Sunshine Coast, said that the IVS results continued two years of sustained international growth.

“Over the past years we have seen markets like Germany and New Zealand grow massively as a result of our marketing efforts in these countries, so it is really pleasing to see other markets such as the UK and USA join the surge,”  Mr Ambrose said.

“The power of Bindi’s success in America’s Dancing with the Stars can’t be underestimated.

"She did a brilliant job promoting Queensland and her Sunshine Coast homebase, and with the American dollar maintaining its high value against the Australian dollar, we believe we can really translate the ‘Bindi factor’ into substantial US increases.

“The Sunshine Coast is set to benefit considerably from the re-launch later this month of direct Qantas services into Sunshine Coast Airport. This connects the region with destinations across the Qantas international network and will particularly impact inbound marketing from long-haul markets like USA, UK and Europe, where Visit Sunshine Coast have been conducting sales missions over the past year.

“With the support of Tourism Events Queensland, our Australia’s Nature Coast partners and energetic members, we are creating a dynamic and evocative image of the Sunshine Coast, which will be further enhanced by the re-branding of the organisation to Visit Sunshine Coast to better streamline our industry and public presence.

“While business travel to Queensland has been slow in the past year, the start of Qantas services, major infrastructure developments such as the Kawana medical and education precinct, new business hotels and increased confidence augur well for a revival in corporate travel to the Sunshine Coast, which will also increase length of stay.”