A record number of Australians have chosen the Gold Coast as their holiday destination – a trend likely only to get bigger. 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. The National Visitor Survey* (NVS) figures released 20 December show a 14.3 per cent rise for the year ending September 2017, once-again breaking overnight domestic visitation recording 4.164 million.
Gold Coast’s visitation growth almost doubled that of Australia (7.2 per cent) and similarly outperformed Queensland which grew at 9.7 per cent. Record volumes were also observed for Queensland (22.1m visitors) and Australia (95.98m visitors).
Total domestic expenditure reached $3.2 billion, up 3.7 per cent just below the previous high of $3.25 billion set almost a decade ago in 2008.
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 coming summer also looked like hitting records as the destination prepares for April’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.
“Traditionally summer is the highest yielding period and we are hearing reports that many accommodation providers are at 90 per cent occupancy during summer,” he said.
Other tourism operators are also benefiting five-months out before the biggest event in the region’s history descends on the Gold Coast. KDV Sport in Carrara is Queensland’s largest split level complex, sporting 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. 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,” Mr Foy said.
Wyndham Cruises general manger Dean Griffin, who operates the leading and longest running river cruise service on the Gold Coast, said that he 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. 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 conducted by Tourism Research Australia.