A blockbuster year shows up in the numbers
THE latest tourism data for our region shows that visitor numbers are up strongly and so is their spending.
The growth, on top of a remarkably positive year in 2014-15, confirms a strong trend that is continuing. Bookings for next year are very healthy and paint a picture of a regional tourism industry that is having its best year in at least a decade.
The International Visitor Survey for the year ending June show that visitation to tropical North Queensland from the US was up 18 per cent to 109,000, from NZ up 17 per cent to 43,000 and from the UK up 5 per cent to 97,000. The UK is currently the largest source market for Douglas (specific numbers for Douglas are likely to be available in a few days time).
German visitors were up 6.5 per cent to 52,000.
Growth markets such as Canada were up 10 per cent to 23,000.
Expenditure for the region is up 8.6 per cent to $1.086 billion and the average spend per night is $166.
Growth is above the Queensland and Australian average with TNQ achieving a higher increase in market share
The executive officer for Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree, Tara Bennett, said a holiday in Australia was now a better proposition than two years ago for foreign visitors.
“Particularly the US and NZ, I think Australia is a better value proposition now that the Australian dollar has softened,” she said.
“Aviation access to the US is continually improving; the cost of airfares is now as low as it’s ever been.”
It was highly noteworthy that expenditure in TNQ by visitors was up by 8.6 per cent, and after what people spend is a critical factor – “we’re also seeing a growth in spend in the region,” Ms Bennett said. “We’re also aspiring not just to increase numbers but to be increasing yield.
“We want to see sustainable visitation rather than mass visitation.”
Though the past week had softened a little in terms of visitation to the shire, it would be shortlived as the next school holidays loom.
The season had been a whopper.
“It’s all smiles at the moment. The tourism operators have gone through some tough years and then last year helped recover from that and now this year it’s starting to provide rewards.
“You can start to re-invest, look at innovating, and any improvements you might be keen to implement.”
Ms Bennett said forward bookings from some operators are strong through to till mid 2017.
“I understand that some domestic visitors who come every year are finding their favourite apartment is already gone, so that’s reinforcing the need to book well ahead.”
It’s all smiles at the moment. The tourism operators have gone through some tough years and then last year helped recover from that and now this year it’s starting to provide rewards.
Weddings and reef tours are perennial favourites of tourism in the shire