The Southern Great Barrier Reef destination takes in the Capricornia, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions.
The Southern Great Barrier Reef destination takes in the Capricornia, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions.

‘Punched above our weight’: CQ shines in new tourism data

Tourism Research Australia data for the December quarter released on Wednesday morning showed that the Southern Great Barrier Reef had performed comparatively well as a tourist destination despite the continuing effects of COVID-19 on the industry.

The SGBR destination, which includes the Capricornia, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions, had the smallest drop across all 13 Queensland regions in total visitation from September to December 2020 – 3.5 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2019.

There were still 533,000 visitors to the area, 511,000 from within Queensland, representing a 7 per cent increase in intrastate visitors.

Total visitor nights to SGBR for the quarter were 2.1 million, an increase of 4.7 per cent, with a total domestic spend per night of $138 per person (a 4.1 per cent increase) and a total domestic spend per visitor of $543 (a 5 per cent increase).

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said the data confirmed the strength of the SGBR as a tourist destination.

“Considering the incredible competition from many other regions within Queensland, with far larger budgets than Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions combined, we are collectively proud of our efforts in targeting intrastate visitors, particularly from the Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland during a most difficult year,” she said.

“The Capricorn region represents just over 50 per cent of all visitors to the SGBR destination and over 50 per cent of the geography from the Keppel Islands to the Central Queensland Highlands.

“Our total visitor economy to the Capricorn region is roughly a third Holiday Visitor, a third Visiting Friends and Relatives and a third Business Visitor, and these results demonstrate we have yet again punched above our weight in the tourism sector.”

Total visitors to the SGBR for 2020 was 1.8 million (down 22.8 per cent) and total visitor nights were 7 million (down 22.2 per cent), which Ms Carroll said reflected the decline of international visitors and the interstate border closures during 2020.

In the December quarter, total spending per night from international visitors was $32 (a decrease of 31.8 per cent) and per visitor $361 (dropping 48.3 per cent).

During 2020, the destination still received 23,000 international visitors.



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