DOMESTIC visitor numbers may have dropped since last year, but Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll says things aren't so bad when you look at the bigger picture.
A Tourism Queensland regional snapshot of the Southern Great Barrier Reef area, which includes Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg, shows visitor numbers have decreased by 13.6% in the year to March.
However, Ms Carroll said the region has actually experienced a 19% increase over the past three years.
"The danger in looking at year-on-year trends only, is that when there is an exceptional growth period, such as the construction phase in the mining and resources sector (in the Bowen Basin and Gladstone), when that construction period experiences a downturn, the annual results are exacerbated," she said.
"Many of the Gladstone contractors visited Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast during their days off.
"Add to that the current challenges in our agricultural sector experiencing drought, these factors all impact on our traditional and non-traditional visitation."
Ms Carroll said it was encouraging to see that business visitation and the visiting friends and relatives market has seen an increase over the past three years.
She said this was reflected by residential growth and major construction projects in Rockhampton, Gracemere and the Capricorn Coast.
"Whilst catalytic projects like the Great Keppel Island resort will provide an incredible boost to our destination, we need to acknowledge that growth is occurring in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, which has a positive effect on our overall visitation," she said.
In the year to March:
Domestic down 13.6%
International down 15.5%
Domestic down 16.4 %
International down 4.4%