Numbers up in the right places for Douglas
VISITOR numbers for Tropical North Queensland in 2016 were up 15.3 per cent on 2015 with markets that favour the Douglas region seeing huge increases.
Germany, which according to Tourism Port Douglas Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett normally results in increases of 5 per cent year on year, jumped to a 10.3 per cent increase in visitor numbers in 2016.
“That’s the highest I’ve seen German growth in a long time,” Ms Bennett said.
“The German market we particularly love because they come to Australia for six weeks — so they’ve got a lot longer to enjoy.”
Ms Bennett said that the Douglas Shire tended to cater for Western markets with more money and time.
“(Germans) spend over a longer period,” she said.
“They tend to self-drive. For Douglas, that means great news for our operators in the Daintree, so they’re characterised by much higher dispersal. They have a lot more time in the region and they’re happy to spend money on touring, particularly with environmental messaging.
“Some are more adventurous, but they do have a high interest in quality landscapes and environmental practices. They have a social and environmental conscience, so they would favour eco-tourism operators and be looking for that deeper nature experience.”
Ms Bennett said that Germany represented the fourth largest contributor to visitors to Douglas, coming in behind New Zealand, the US and the UK, which, despite Brexit jitters, is still the top contributor.
“The UK is still fairly stable which we expected with the uncertainty following Brexit — however it is still probably for Douglas our strongest performing market,” she said.
“Pre-Brexit we had all expected the UK to continue double-digit growth, but on from Brexit we’ve seen the pound devalue significantly, which has made trips to Australia at least 25 per cent more expensive.”
“We are seeing what we had expected, that it would slow down.
“Visitor numbers from the UK increased by 1.7 per cent, compared to 14.6 per cent from the US and 42.3 per cent from New Zealand.
“It’s still a significant market and it would be one of the top producers for the Douglas region, however we won’t expect the same growth out of that market as we are seeing out of the US and New Zealand for some time.”
According to the International Visitor Survey released last week, 901,000 international visitors came to the Tropical North in 2016, a jump of 120,000 per year on 2015.
Visitors to the tropics spent more on average each night of their stay than any other region in Australia excepting the Lasseter region of the Northern Territory — which is home to Uluru and Kata Tjuta.