Billion dollar boom for Tropical North tourism
AMERICANS have fallen in love with the Tropical North, arriving in huge numbers and with bulging wallets.
Tourism Research Australia’s latest international visitor survey shows US visitation jumped 17 per cent to 101,000 in the year to December, ranking the region as the country’s second-most popular destination behind Sydney.
But they were vastly outnumbered by the 174,000 Chinese visitors who travelled to the Tropical North last year, which cemented China as the region’s biggest international market.
The Tropical North is the top pick in Queensland for international holidaymakers, with visitation increasing six per cent to 720,000, followed by the Gold Coast (711,000).
Overall international visitation, including business travel, also rose six per cent to 781,000, while the number of nights spent in the region increased by four per cent to 6.7 million.
Tourism Port Douglas Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said it was important to note travellers were also spending more, with expenditure climbing 11 per cent to $1 billion.
“That translates into increased revenues for our region’s operators,” she said.
“The figures confirm what we’ve heard from operators in past 12 months, that there has been significant growth in US and UK visitation.
“I think it’s a combination of the change in the Australian dollar as well as Australia regaining popularity in key international markets.”
Ms Bennett said she expected continued growth in the Port Douglas-Daintree region, with wholesale partners in the UK reporting increased bookings of up to 30 per cent over the past six months.
Tourism and Events Queensland chairman Bob East believes TNQ’s unique tourism offerings give it an edge over other destinations.
“From Queensland’s greatest natural asset the Great Barrier Reef, to ancient tropical rainforest and an array of cul- tural experiences,” he said. Swedish backpackers Sofie Pettersson, 21, and Hanna Rosell, 22, arrived in Cairns three weeks ago and are enjoying the Tropical North lifestyle.
“The weather is very good, it’s very hot,” Ms Rosell said.
“Back home in Sweden it’s so cold right now. I like everything you can do here. You can skydive and go to the Barrier Reef. There’s a lot to experience and explore.”
For the first time, more than 2.3 million international travellers touched down in Queensland, an increase of nine per cent on the previous 12 months, injecting a massive $4.9 billion into the state economy.
Swedish backpackers Hanna Rosell, 22, and Sofie Pettersson, 21, enjoy the Tropical North lifestyle.