Rich recipe for tourism

Far North the top choice for big spenders

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - NICK DAL­TON nick.dal­ton@news.com.au edi­to­rial@cairnspost.com.au face­book.com/TheCairn­sPost www.cairnspost.com.au twit­ter.com/TheCairn­sPost

THE Far North’s tourism in­dus­try is to tar­get big spenders as new fig­ures show in­ter­na­tional tourists splashed more cash in the re­gion than else­where in Queens­land.

Visi­tors av­er­aged $167 a night com­pared to $127 on the Gold Coast and $87 in Bris­bane or to­talling $1202 dur­ing their stay, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Vis­i­tor Sur­vey for 2017.

Tourism Trop­i­cal North Queens­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Pip Close said it fit­ted with the strat­egy to “chase high-end visi­tors while the avi­a­tion seat ca­pac­ity into Cairns is con­strained”.

“Visi­tors from Europe grew 16.7 per cent driven by strong growth from France which was up 40 per cent to 23,000, Scan­di­navia up 35.8 per cent to 25,000, Ger­many up 3.5 per cent to 55,000 and Italy up 75 per cent to 14,000,” she said.

Ms Close said the ap­point­ment of a mar­ket­ing agent in Ger­man-speak­ing coun­tries would cap­i­talise on the po­ten­tial of Euro­pean visi­tors who stayed longer and spent more.

The sur­vey re­sults also re­vealed the lu­cra­tive In­dian trav­eller mar­ket has soared by nearly half in the past year.

“The strong­est growth of 48.4 per cent was from In­dia with 32,000 visi­tors, largely due to the in­crease in SilkAir flights to five days a week pro­vid­ing a good con­nec­tion to In­dia,” Ms Close said.

The num­ber of in­ter­na­tional hol­i­day visi­tors to the re­gion reached a record high of 839,000 dur­ing 2017 (up 2000) but to­tal over­seas visi­tors fell marginally buy 0.4 per cent from 901,000 to 897,000.

The full ex­tent of last year’s dis­as­trous Chi­nese New Year when char­ter flights were can­celled was re­vealed with 12,000 fewer Chi­nese visi­tors but they were still the largest source with 216,000.

Cairns Air­port avi­a­tion chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Paul McLean said ini­tial Fe­bru­ary re­sults showed the new di­rect Chi­nese flights had “boosted” num­bers.

“Air New Zealand will also re­turn to Cairns with their Auck­land ser­vice re­sum­ing on March 29,” he said.

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