AUSTRALIANS are flocking to the Gold Coast in record numbers, according to new figures released today.
The latest National Visitor Survey* shows 4.164 million domestic visitors took an extended trip to the coast in the year to September, a 14.3 per cent rise on the year before.
When combined with the city’s 8.1 million day-trippers and 1.056 million international holiday-makers, that’s a staggering 13.32 million visitors to the tourist strip in 12 months.
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The Gold Coast’s visitation growth almost doubled that of Australia (7.2%) and similarly outperformed Queensland which grew at 9.7 per cent.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is seen by Tourism Leaders as a major catalyst to the record domestic overnight visitation figures and the anticipated bumper summer season.
Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said that the growth in domestic overnight visitor numbers was impressive.
“It’s particularly encouraging to see the popularity of the Gold Coast continue to grow,” he says.
“Day-trippers made up 8.1 million visitors and when combined with international overnight record number of 1.056 million released last week and the domestic overnight numbers, that’s a formidable 13.32 million visitors.”
Tourism remains a major cornerstone of the region’s economy, generating over $5 billion or 17 per cent of the Gold Coast’s gross regional product which accounts for 46,000 tourism jobs.
Mr Winter said the summer holiday season was also tipped to break records as the Coast prepares for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
“This is like a coming-of-age of the city at speeds that would not have been sustained had it not secured the Commonwealth Games,” Mr Winter said.
“Traditionally summer is the highest yielding period and we are hearing reports that many accommodation providers are at 90 per cent occupancy during summer.”
Fellow tourism operators are also benefiting from the influx of visitors, five-months ahead of the Games.
KDV Sport in Carrara is Queensland’s largest split level sporting complex, with 40 bay golf driving ranges, 20 tennis courts and a thriving academy for up and coming future stars.
Marketing manager Daman Foy said KDV’s Russian owners saw an “opportunity to capitalise on a spike in sports interest with the games a catalyst” for the 13-month old business.
“The academy was created to attract the next generation of world class athletes,” Mr Foy said.
“Our six-week Children’s summer holiday program has already been inundated and we’ve issued more than 2,000 passes at a cost of $50 per day, so we expect around 1,000 kids will take part.”
Wyndham Cruises general manger Dean Griffin, who operates the leading and longest running river cruise service on the Gold Coast, said he also expected the summer period to be the best on record.
“Our cruises have been exceptionally popular this summer with 80% of bookings already on our books from Boxing day into January,” Mr Griffin said.
“There seems to a renewed energy and the city is abuzz with visitors wanting to be part of the excitement ahead of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.”
*National visitor data is provided by International Visitor Surveys and conducted by Tourism Research Australia.