Qld the ‘tourism capital’ as Gold Coast bounces back from COVID

Queensland has been crowned Australia’s number one tourism destination with the Gold Coast benefiting from the surge in people flocking back to the Sunshine State.

Tourists stayed longer and spent more money in Queensland than in any other state.

Surprisingly, it’s the first time Queensland has come out on top.


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Figures from Tourism Research Australia show Queensland welcomed 20.8 million visitors in the 12 months to March.

The Gold Coast saw 9.4 million people visit the city over the year, including more than 3.2 million overnight visitors and almost 6.2 million day-trippers.

Overnight visitors stayed a total of 12 million nights, making us the 7th top destination in the country.

Total overnight visitor expenditure in Queensland hit $17.9 billion putting the state above New South Wales and Victoria.

The Gold Coast saw almost $3.8 billion dollars pumped into the local economy from both overnight and day visitors.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan says it’s a huge step back in the right direction, but the recovery still has a way to go.

“We’re still a fair way from our full numbers in 2019, where we welcomed 14.4 million visitors and we were $5.9 billion in terms of our economy. But what this shows is that we’re rebounding strongly,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“I think what’s also exciting is interstate visitors are coming back significantly. So we welcomed a significant share of Sydney-ites, and Melbourne-ites, which is fantastic.”

“But, really positive as well, since February this year, welcoming up to 14,000 international visitors.”

The Gold Coast is also in the middle of another school holiday boom with hotel occupancy hitting as high as 85 per cent while the airport is at 10 per cent above pre-COVID levels.