Visitors flock to the Whitsundays
MORE visitors from across the globe are choosing the Whitsundays as their holiday destination according to the latest international visitor numbers released from Tourism Research Australia.
Covering a 12 month period ending March 2016, figures show a strong upward growth trend with an increase of 5.8% in overall visitors with a total of 222,000, most of whom were on holidays showing a 6.2% increase from the previous reporting period.
Results show international holiday expenditure increased for the Whitsundays by 2.1% to a total of $1.2 million per night.
Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen said in the year 2016, the survey showed 220,000 international visitors came to the Whitsundays and spent $213 million.
"This is great news for North Queensland and the 4,835 local tourism jobs,” he said.
"The Tourism Research Australia figures represent a 6% growth in visitor numbers and growth of 45% in visitor spend.
"The survey shows the Whitsundays tourism industry continues to register strong growth - driving local jobs and economic growth.”
The Whitsundays' key international markets of the United Kingdom, Germany and United States had fantastic growth, in particular, the United States with visitors up by 29.1% to a total of 21,000.
German visitors were up by 15.7% with a total of 34,000 coming to our shores and United Kingdom visitors increased by 2% to a total of 50,000.
The Whitsundays' fastest growing market, China, was up by an impressive 40% to a total of 16,000.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Craig Turner said he was pleased with the result but recognises there is still a lot of work to do to fulfil the potential of the destination.
"From talking with industry it has been a busy and successful year for tourism operators in the Whitsundays,” he said.
"The quality of our iconic experiences such as Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, are all part of reason why Whitsundays is a destination of choice.
Mr Christensen said a vibrant tourism sector was forecast for the Liberal National Government over the next decade in a bid to continue its growth trajectory.
"To support the tourism industry to grow further, the Liberal National Government had committed a record $629 million for Tourism Australia to market Australia overseas,” he said.
"Australia's tourism industry is currently growing three times as fast as the rest of the Australian economy.”
To view the International Visitor Survey visit www.tra.gov.au.