QUEENSLAND has been revealed as Australia’s dominant holiday market with the state’s tourism industry reaching a record $33.2 billion in overnight visitor spending in the last financial year.
Tourism Research Australia has released the new figures on World Tourism Day showcasing that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of tourism dollars were spent in regional Queensland and new data has shown tourism records continue to be broken by the state.
Figures show Queensland is Australia’s dominant holiday state, holding the majority share of the domestic holiday market, while also achieving record spend by domestic business travellers in the last financial year.
Queensland is also ahead of the national average in recovering international visitor expenditure and in regional Queensland, the tourism industry employs as many as one in three Queenslanders.
This latest data shows Tropical North Queensland welcomed a record number of domestic visitors in the past year, as did the Gold Coast, while Mackay and Outback Queensland enjoyed record domestic visitor spending.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) chair Ken Chapman said tourism had helped Cairns develop into a vibrant liveable city with a wonderful city heart that today boats a great choice of restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
“Covid did great damage to the industry but bolstered by a huge marketing effort from TTNQ, tourism is back now stronger than ever and delivered $4.3 billion in visitor expenditure to our region supporting 24,600 jobs and families in our community over the past year,” he said.
“Armed with a record $10 million in domestic funding support from the Federal Government’s Recovery for Regions program, TTNQ undertook integrated domestic marketing campaigns that achieved $300 million in direct campaign generated visitor spend over the past two years as well as the indirect promotional benefits that drove so much additional visitation.
“A 30 times direct return on investment and the rapid domestic recovery are outstanding results that demonstrate the huge difference that well-funded and well-managed marketing can make.
“The Federal Government has now followed on with a $15 million Tropical North Queensland International Tourism Recovery Program to get international tourism back to where it should be.
In just three months, this program has allowed TTNQ to generate publicity worth nearly $30 million to support new direct connections from Haneda and Singapore and existing routes from Tokyo and Osaka in the region’s key international markets.
“International passenger numbers returned to 80 per cent of Cairns Airport’s 2019 volume in August and domestic passenger numbers are now exceeding 2019 levels,” Mr Chapman said.
“TTNQ is working closely with Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland to align promotional activity and further support aviation routes through strategic global trade partnerships that will drive international holiday visitor recovery and help grow our regional economy.”
Townsville was a leader of the state’s international recovery, being the only region where visitation in the first half of 2023 exceeded pre-COVID-19 levels.
Cairns MP and Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development Michael Healy said tourism is an economic powerhouse in Queensland.
“It drives investment and career opportunities across our vast state and as tourism continues to emerge from Covid, we see Queensland’s dominance in the domestic market grow,” he said.
“With the positive results of our $200 million investment in attracting International Aviation, tourism’s best days are ahead of us.
“Whether you work for a big International brand or a small mum and dad business, we get tourism in Queensland.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said with the region being home to two World Heritage areas, the Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, holidaying in the Far North is a no-brainer.
“Visitors to our regions get to enjoy the finest beauty and vast biodiversity of nature, which is what makes our beautiful region so special,” she said.