Record numbers of tourists choose CQ for holidays

NO resort on Great Keppel Island - no worries.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef has still attracted record numbers of interstate and international visitors in 2018/19, according to the latest figures released by Tourism Research Australia.

In total, 2.3 million holiday makers visited the SGBR (up 12.7%). 

And while Central Queensland business and tourism leader Mary Carroll would love nothing more than to see a resort developed on GKI, the positive figures are just reward for her organisation’s approach since the former tourist drawcard closed 11 years ago.

“We have continued to successfully promote the products we do have, as opposed to what we don’t have,” the chief executive of Capricorn Enterprise said on Wednesday.

The SGBR includes the three regions of Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg.

“While the published figures cover a very large area, half of all the statistics equate to our Capricorn region which includes Central Highlands, Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast,” Ms Carroll said.

She said a combination of the booming CQ mining and resources industry, a diverse Rockhampton economy and the greater regional footprint including Emerald and Gladstone, had been the catalyst for an increase of visitors through the domestic business market (760,000 – up 22.6%). 

Business aside, the SGBR also saw a large rise in domestic holiday makers (753,000 – up 5%) and those visiting friends and relatives (667,000 – up 16.6%).

While interstate (292,000) and intrastate (2.1m) domestic visitors also increased.

“We are witnessing a very healthy growth from Brisbane (up 26%) and the Sunshine Coast (up 16%) along with a continued growth in locals (up 11%) across the SGBR holidaying in their own backyard,” Ms Carroll said. 

Across the SGBR, the domestic average length of stay has increased to 3.8 nights, with overall expenditure in the regions totalling $1.2 billion (up 8.1%). 

“Internationally, our consistently strong source markets including the Europe, Germany, New Zealand, Asia and North America continue to bring visitors to the region, with an added boost from the France and Nordic regions shown in the latest statistics,” Ms Carroll said. 

“For overseas travellers, the length of stay is showing steady growth with 141,000 visitors choosing to spend an average of 14.4 nights and spending $102.6 million (up 10.2%) exploring the SGBR among the many other unforgettable experiences on offer.” 

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