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Tourists Flocking To Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

Mooloolaba Beach at Queensland's Sunshine Coast

New data shows that Queensland’s Sunshine Coast attracted record visitation and spend by Australians and overseas visitors over the past year.

The latest National Visitor Survey released today showed a record 3.5 million domestic visitors travelled to the Sunshine Coast in the year ending September 2018, generating a rise of 18.4 per cent in expenditure to $2.4 billion.

The International Visitor Survey was also released with international arrivals topping 319,000 and also breaking a record with visitors increasing by 8.5 per cent and spend increasing by 5.3 per cent, totalling $248.2 million.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said the result was a culmination of highly targeted and effective campaigns both in Australia and overseas to attract new visitors and encourage past visitors to return.

“The performance out of New Zealand has been outstanding, along with continued growth from the American, Asian and European markets, and the fact that they are spending more reflects the diversity of attractions available across the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“This is in addition to particularly strong growth from our traditional domestic drive market, complemented by the wide range of direct flights into Sunshine Coast Airport. Qantas will shortly add an additional daily-direct service from Sydney, which will help boost leisure, corporate and conference travel even further.

“Today’s figures reflect the success of our promotional campaigns with Tourism and Events Queensland and travel trade partners to grow key domestic and international markets including New Zealand, UK and the US.”

Mr Latchford said the popularity of events over the period was also a contributing factor to the successful data released today.

“With the support of Sunshine Coast Council, the major events calendar for the region has become stronger and more diversified, with domestic business events visitors growing by 5.5% over the period as a result of the region winning an increased number of major conferences.”

Snapshot: Domestic Visitor Survey to year end September 2018
Source: Tourism Research Australia

  • · $2.4 billion spend record high and increase 18.4% year on year
  • · 3.5 million domestic visitors record high and increase 1.8% year on year
  • · Of the 3.5 million total visitors, 1.95 million were holiday visitors, an increase of 6.6% and 276,000 were business visitors increasing by 5.5%.
  • · Spend per night $194 up 19%

Snapshot: International Visitor Survey to year end September 2018*
Source: Tourism Research Australia

  • · $248.2 million spend increase 5.3% year on year
  • · 319,000 international visitors record high and increase 8.5%
  • · Spend per night $91 up 22%

Country of Origin

Total Visitors

% Change Year on Year

New Zealand


11.2% increase



6.8% increase



39.4% increase



21.8% decrease



3.6% increase



5.1% increase



21.4% increase

* Note, the International Visitor Survey (IVS) results for the September quarter 2018 are preliminary and do not include any data relating to purpose of visit. This is because the quality of the main purpose of visit component of the passenger data supplied to Tourism Research Australia (TRA) by the Department of Home Affairs has been identified as a concern. There are no issues with the IVS survey collection methodology. The Australian Government is working to resolve the issue and it is likely that a back cast of TRA data will be required. TRA will release revised estimates once a solution has been implemented.



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