National data confirms the Southern Great Barrier Reef destination as a holiday hotspot

Tourism Research Australia data for the year ending December 2020 released this morning revealed that the Southern Great Barrier Reef (SGBR) destination has performed exceptionally well despite the ongoing effects of COVID-19 to the Queensland and Australian tourism industry.

The SGBR destination (made up of Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions) had the smallest drop across all 13 Queensland regions in total visitation in the December quarter 2020 (Sep – Dec) compared to the December quarter 2019, revealing a total number of 533,000 visitors with only a 3.5% decline.

Visitors from within Queensland (intrastate) was 511,000 people – an increase of 7% in the December 2020 quarter compared to the December 2019 quarter, which was the second highest intrastate visitor increase across the 13 regions in Queensland.

The highest increase of intrastate visitors was to the Sunshine Coast with an 11.4% increase quarter on quarter, due to its close proximity to the capital.

Total visitor nights to SGBR for the December quarter (Sep – Dec) were 2.1 million nights which saw an increase of 4.7%, reflecting a total domestic spend per night of $138 per person (a 4.1% increase) and a total domestic spend per visitor of $543 (a 5% increase). And a total spend per international night of $32 (a decrease of 31.8%) and spend per international visitor of $361 (drop 48.3%).

Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll was pleased to receive this data, which confirms the strength of the SGBR destination.

“Considering the incredible competition from many other regions within Queensland, with far larger budgets than Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions combined, we are collectively proud of our efforts in targeting intrastate visitors, particularly from the Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland during a most difficult year,” Mary said. “The Capricorn region represents just over 50% of all visitors to the SGBR destination and over 50% of the geography from the Keppel Islands to the Central Queensland Highlands.”

“Our region which traverses the Tropic of Capricorn targets 5 key state strategic touring routes (Inland Way, Leichardt Way, Country Way, Pacific Coast Way and the Capricorn Way) which contributes to the fact that 90% of our overall visitor market is domestic drive.”

“Our total visitor economy to the Capricorn region is roughly a third Holiday Visitor, a third Visiting Friends and Relatives and a third Business Visitor, and these results demonstrate we have yet again punched above our weight in the tourism sector.”

“We acknowledge the incredible efforts of our tourism operators, with whom we have worked very hard to not just survive but thrive,” Mary said. “However, with continued Southern lockdowns, the COVID challenges remain very real and ongoing, but we will never give up on our local tourism industry and continue to fight for every visitor we can get.”

Total visitors to the SGBR for 2020 was 1.8 million (down 22.8%) and total visitor nights was 7 million (down 22.2%) which reflects the decline of international visitors and the interstate border closures during 2020.

It should be noted that whilst international borders have been closed for the past year, we are still receiving visitors who have remained in the country. For the year 2020 to Dec 2020 the SGBR received 23,000 international visitors (down 83.9%).

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