Increased visitors head to the Southern Great Barrier Reef

The Southern Great Barrier Reef (Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions combined) has attracted record numbers of interstate and international visitors in 2018/19 according to the latest results released from Tourism Research Australia (TRA).

Data from the National Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS) for the year ending June 2019 shows that domestic and international tourism is well and truly on the rise in Australia, Queensland and our local destinations making up the Southern Great Barrier Reef (SGBR).

But as we witness this record growth rate, Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll remains cautiously optimistic.

‘While it is extremely encouraging to see nearly 2.5 million domestic and international visitors in total to the SGBR, a recent change in TRA’s data collection methodology needs to be considered,” said Ms Carroll.

“The change to 100% mobile phone surveys rather than the inclusion of 50% land lines may have impact on the latest results and a margin of up to 5% should be taken into consideration when reviewing the high statistics.”

A combination of the booming CQ mining/resources industry, along with an ongoing strong diverse economy in Rockhampton and the greater Central Queensland footprint including Emerald and Gladstone, continues to see an increase of visitors through the domestic business market (760,000 – up 22.6%).

As one of the steadiest growth areas outside the southern corner, the greater Capricorn Region has commenced rolling out more than $3.6 billion worth of infrastructure projects generating unprecedented opportunities for regional business and local workforce over the next decade.

“With economic conditions improving across a number of sectors each week, we look forward to further increases to business travelers over the next 12 months and beyond,” said Ms Carroll.

Business aside, the SGBR is also seeing a large increase to domestic holiday makers (753,000 – up 5%) and those visiting friends and relatives (667,000 – up 16.6%), choosing Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, Central Highlands, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions as their destination.

Whilst interstate (292,000) and intrastate (2.1 million) domestic visitors are on the rise, we are witnessing a very healthy growth from Brisbane (up 26%) and the Sunshine Coast (up 16%) along with a continued growth in locals (up 11%) across the SGBR holidaying in their own backyard.

The NVS has confirmed the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a competitive tourism destination for Australian travelers with a total of 2.3 million holiday makers choosing to drop anchor in the Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions (up 12.7%).

Across the SGBR, the domestic average length of stay has increased to 3.8 nights, with overall expenditure in the regions totaling 1.2 billion (up 8.1%).

Internationally, our consistently strong source markets including the Europe, Germany, New Zealand, Asia and North America continue to bring visitors to the region, with an added boost from the France and Nordic regions shown in the latest statistics.

For overseas travelers, the length of stay is showing steady growth with 141,000 visitors choosing to spend an average of 14.4 nights and spending $102.6 million (up 10.2%) exploring the Southern Great Barrier Reef amongst the many other unforgettable experiences on offer.

“The SGBR’s strong three-way partnership between our three-regional tourism organisations, together with our local industry partners, has helped to pave the way for our greater destination and showcase our unique and diverse precincts through targeted international and domestic marketing with limited human and financial resources,” said Ms Carroll.

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