PICTURESQUE: New data shows the picturesque Whitsunday Region has recoded double digit growth, in the amount of cash spent by domestic tourists.
PICTURESQUE: New data shows the picturesque Whitsunday Region has recoded double digit growth, in the amount of cash spent by domestic tourists. Georgia Simpson

Whitsundays tourism industry records strong growth

WHISPERS that tourism has taken a hit in the region may be wide of the mark, with new data released today showing the picturesque Whitsundays has recorded double-digit growth in the amount of cash spent by domestic tourists.

In the year ending September 2018, National Visitor Survey data revealed a record 629,000 domestic visitors spent $651 million in the Whitsundays, a growth of 10.4 per cent over the three years.

International Visitor Survey data for the same period showed more than 240,000 visitors spent more than $215 million in the Whitsundays, nearly 10 per cent growth year-on-year.

Of the combined 869,000 tourists to visit the region, the average spend per person was $966.

Intrastate visitors were up a whopping 70.4 per cent, with 233,000 Queenslanders making the pilgrimage to our tropical paradise.

The report indicates, that although some of the core international markets were slightly down, tourists from the UK, Germany, China and the US accounted for 119,000 visitors in the year reported.

Canada, France and Scandinavia provided increased visitor numbers than in previous years.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said that the reopening of Hayman and Daydream Islands would hopefully see a further increase in visitor numbers.

"With 2019 comes the big return of Daydream Island and Hayman Island as well as the opening of boho-chic Elysian Resort and many more exciting new product developments for our resilient region; we hope to see these visitor growth figures return."

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said data released today proved Queensland out-performed NSW and Victoria in 2018 in international visitor expenditure growth in the year ending September 2018.

"Our international visitor expenditure grew 11.5 per cent - more than double the Australian rate. We also saw record highs in international visitor numbers, with 2,762,000 visitors spending $5.9 billion in Queensland," she said.

The state's lead marketing agency, Tourism and Events Queensland, launched it's reinvigorated 'Beautiful One Day, Perfect The Next' campaign in April 2018 and it's clear that visitors have responded, with the increase in numbers.

Assistant Minister for State Development and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the data was a testament to the resilience of the local tourism industry.

"The Whitsundays is one of the most beautiful regions in the world. We're working hard to market this region to a new generation of tourists. Today's data shows that we've made great headway," she said.

According to Whitsunday Regional Council Economic Development Strategy report, tourism is one of the three "pillars" supporting the local economy, accounting to 11 per cent of the gross revenue, and by 2037 the WRC report predicts five million people visit the region every year.

Ms Gilbert added Labor was investing in new tourism infrastructure in the Whitsundays to entice even more visitors to the region in the future, including the developing new infrastructure in the Great Barrier Reef island resorts.

"Our recent $1 million investment in tourism marketing for the region will help to ensure visitors stay longer and spend more while visiting the Whitsundays," she said.