MORE than 127,000 Europeans visited the Whitsundays last year - an increase of 14,000 people.

More than 21,000 came to the region from Asia - an increase of more than 3000 people.

These figures have been released as part of an international visitor survey for the year ending December 2013 which show that the Whitsundays has experienced the biggest growth of international visitors in the entire state.

International visitors to the Whitsundays have increased by 10.4 per cent, equating to 17,000 extra visitors.

Whitsundays Marketing and Development Limited (WMDL) chief executive officer Danial Rochford said the double digit growth had certainly been warmly welcomed but the results also highlighted the challenges that lay ahead.

"Our goal is to double visitor expenditure by 2020 and WMDL will continue to focus on incentivising longer stays and greater visitor expenditure in our region," Mr Rochford said.

"There is no doubt that we can see major growth opportunities out of the Asian market and the latest statistics have proven exactly that," he said.

"While travellers from the UK and Germany continue to grow, we have experienced enormous growth from French travellers, increasing by 70 per cent."

"Visitor numbers from Canada have also increased by 11 per cent while visitors from North America have decreased by 5.3 per cent," Mr Rochford said.

"We have certainly been helped by the devaluation of the Australian dollar as well as the increased investment in infrastructure by Government on all levels."

Topics:  europe tourism whitsundays

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