Tourism in Mackay is thriving. Photo: Sean Scott Photography
Tourism in Mackay is thriving. Photo: Sean Scott Photography Sean Scott

REVEALED: Tourists splash half a billion in region

TOURISTS spent almost $600 million in the Mackay region in the past year, a whopping 40 per cent more than they did in 2017-2018.

The numbers, revealed today by Tourism Research Australia, show more than a million domestic tourists spent $566m in Mackay in the year ended June 2019 and more than 50,000 international tourists spent $22m.

Our visitors are spending 50 per cent more in Mackay

The positive result coincides with Tourism and Transport Forum's announcement that Queensland has taken out the title of best Aussie holiday state in a national survey.

Nearly 40 per cent of people surveyed ranked Queensland as their number one destination, and 57 per cent of Queensland residents choose to stay in the sunshine state for their annual break.

Tourism in Mackay is thriving. Photo: Sean Scott Photography
Tourism in Mackay is thriving. Photo: Sean Scott Photography Sean Scott

Mackay Tourism general manager Tas Webber said Mackay's 40 per cent growth had largely come from an increase in how much visitors were spending each night during their stay.

"Data shows that domestic tourists were spending about $516 in Mackay, which is up 14.6 per cent since last year," he said.

"International tourists were spending on average $407, which is a 43 per cent increase."

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Mr Webber said Mackay's incredible rise as a tourism hotspot showed no signs of stopping.

"Our region has so much to offer for visitors, from our iconic wildlife and nature-based experiences, to our events, tropical climate and friendly community," he said.

"As the region becomes more attractive to domestic and international visitors, so too will it for investors."

Mr Webber said Mackay Tourism was seeking investors who were willing to start touring products that would take advantage of the region's assets, including the net free fishing zone, Pioneer Valley and Pioneer River.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Queensland's record tourism expenditure had been boosted by high-spending international visitors travelling to the state for education purposes.

Tourism in Mackay is thriving. Photo: Sean Scott Photography
Tourism in Mackay is thriving. Photo: Sean Scott Photography


"International education visitors stayed an average of 105 nights in Queensland, spending about $14,000 per trip," she said.

"This is an important achievement by the state as we target a diversified portfolio to ensure sustainability for one of Queensland's most valuable industries."

China has remained Queensland's largest tourism market, showing growth of 15 per cent in the past year. Japan moved up two positions to become Queensland's third most valuable international tourism market.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the State Government was working with tourism operators more closely than ever to grow the industry and create local jobs.

"The numbers from the Tourism Research report show that our strategy is working," she said.

"Growth in the tourism industry will have great flow-on effects for other Mackay businesses as well."

MACKAY TOURISM STATISTICS:

International tourists

•Expenditure - $22.2 million (up 39%)

•Visitors - 55,000 (up 9.6% on three-year trend)

•Visitor nights - 355,000

•Average visitor spend - $407 (up 43%)

Domestic tourists

•Expenditure - $566.5 million (up 40%)

•Visitors - 1.1 million (up 13.3% on three-year trend)

•Visitor nights - 4.4 million (up 17.8% on three-year trend)

•Average length of stay - Four nights (up 0.7 nights)

•Average visitor spend - $516 (up 14.6%)

•Holiday visitors - 221,000 (up 34.7%)


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