INTERNATIONAL visitor expenditure on the Gold Coast has risen 15.4 per cent in the 12 months ending March 2016, with Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter claiming the local industry is punching above its weight.
According to Tourism Australia's International Visitor survey, international visitor expenditure on the Glitter Strip rose to $1.2 billion.
"Our industry is really punching above its weight, with the 11 per cent growth in international visitors to the Gold Coast outstripping that of Queensland (up 10 per cent) and Australia (up 9 per cent)," says Winter.
Winter expects this growth to continue, particularly on the back of the 2016 Australian Tourism Exchange held recently on the Gold Coast, which attracted significant media coverage across the world.
Meanwhile, visitors from China were up 32 per cent in the year ending March 2016, supported by direct access from central China and via Hong Kong.
China remains the dominant player for the Gold Coast and now accounts for 28 per cent of total international visitors to the Gold Coast, up from 24 per cent in the twelve months prior.
"We are also encouraged by the return of the Japanese market, with visitors up 15 per cent to 56,000, due in part to the successful introduction of Qantas' new direct service from Tokyo," says Winter.
In the year ending March 2016, the Gold Coast also recorded double-digit growth from the USA, up 19 per cent to 35,000, Taiwan up 77 per cent to 29,000 and Hong Kong up 40 per cent to 28,000.
In addition, the international education market continues to gain momentum, increasing by 22 per cent to 22,000 visitors in the year ending March 2016. The sector accounts for 21.5 per cent of total international visitor nights on the Gold Coast.
"This data confirms the significance of the education sector for the Gold Coast and its sizeable contribution to international visitor nights and its contribution to the local economy," says Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby.
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