Bumper Christmas season predicted for Coast
  • Wednesday 16 December 2015
Tourists enjoy the surrounds of beautiful Mooloolaba Beach

The Sunshine Coast attracted 2.9 million visitors in the year up till September 2015, with a near-record expenditure of $1.8 billion, according to the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) released by Tourism Research Australia.

And resorts and attractions across the Coast are predicting a record summer season due to good weather forecasts, new airline services and the dip in the Australian dollar.

The positive figures continue two years of strong growth with the region growing visitation by 280,000 (10.6%) since 2013.

This summer season is expected to break all records, on the back of increased air services by Jetstar and Air New Zealand, and the re-launch of direct Qantas services from next Monday. The Qantas flights are predicted to run at near-capacity throughout the holiday season.

The NVS figures follow the release of record Sunshine Coast Airport statistics. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) reported that Sunshine Coast Airport was the fastest growing airport in Australia during the year to September 2015, with 13.8% growth in passengers. That trend continued in November, with Sunshine Coast Airport reporting growth of 10% to 79,905 passengers during the month.

Sunshine Coast will also benefit from the first ever arrival of luxury cruise liner Azamara at Mooloolaba on January 10, and a bumper events schedule including the Color Run, Ginger Flower and Food Festival and Queensland Oztag Junior State Cup.

“We have enjoyed an incredibly strong two years of growth, and all the figures suggest that 2016 will be another record-breaking year for tourism on the Sunshine Coast,” said Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Ambrose.

“Our positioning of the destination as a premium resort destination with a diverse range of attractions such as food, adventure and nature has paid rich dividends for all local areas of the region. 

"In fact, the growth in arrivals at Sunshine Coast Airport has directly benefited neighbouring regions such as Fraser Coast, with whom we have successfully marketed the Australia’s Nature Coast campaign. That has resonated not just with international visitors, but also Australians who have been attracted to the Great Beach Drive.

“With our new identity, some dynamic marketing campaigns, and great support from our partners – such as Sunshine Coast and Gympie councils, Sunshine Coast Airport and the airlines, Tourism Events Queensland and all our members – we believe that we can attract even greater numbers to the region in 2016, which will provide a major stimulus to the local economy.”