AN impressive jump in tourist numbers to the Gold Coast came last year despite frugal consumers and the high Australian dollar.
The latest Tourism and Events Queensland snapshot shows big increases in domestic and international visitors in the year to December.
Domestic visitation is close to returning to 2007 levels, with a 7 per cent increase to 3.5 million people travelling to the Gold Coast. The numbers were on an upward trend heading into 2013, which has already recorded a bumper summer tourist season.
There was a big 20 per cent increase in visitors from Brisbane, who stayed a combined 2.5 million nights on the coast last year. Visitors from regional Queensland were down 10 per cent to 670,000.
Sydney visitors increased by 17 per cent to 531,000, while Melbournians increased 10 per cent to 403,000.
Day trip visitors increased 13 per cent to 7.5 million, spending a total of $698 million.
International tourist numbers were up 7 per cent to 755,000, spending an average of 10 days in the city.
Scoot Airlines, which celebrates is one year anniversary flying into the city today, can take much of the credit for increasing international tourists.
The airline has transported 158,633 passengers through its five-day-a-week route to Singapore over the past 12 months.
Singaporean visitors to the Gold Coast are up 61 per cent to 37,000, while Chinese visitors are up up 33 per cent to 161,000 people.
Gold Coast airport chief operating officer, Paul Donovan, says the service has attracted tourism to the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers regions.
“Scoot’s commencement has allowed us to successfully market the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers regions as a direct short-haul destination to some of the most important tourism growth markets in the world,” Donavan says.
“In addition to an increase in Singaporean visitation, many passengers travelling on Scoot to the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers are from China, Thailand and Taiwan,” he says.
During the calendar year 2012 Gold Coast Airport welcomed 91,880 international passengers, an increase of 31.2% on 2011.
Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter sees Scoot’s direct connection to Singapore as instrumental to noticeable increases in visitation out of the south-east Asian region.
“Scoot has, and will continue to be a valued partner of Gold Coast Tourism in the marketing and promotion of our wonderful destination. The significant successes already achieved during this first 12 months, is testament to a formula that is working and will continue to reap valuable benefits for the entire tourism industry,” Winter says.
Photo: James Morgan.
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