Sunshine Coast welcomes influx of Queensland visitors

A boost in intrastate tourism has helped shield the region from the decline in overall visitors.

While border closures may have hampered interstate and international travel, intrastate tourism has been a saving grace for Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

According to the latest National Visitor Survey released by Tourism Research Australia, the Sunshine Coast saw an almost 40 per cent increase in intrastate visitors for the third quarter of 2020.

A total of 837,000 intrastate visitors travelled to the Sunshine Coast between 1 July to 30 September, compared to 599,000 for the corresponding quarter in 2019.

The influx in intrastate tourism has helped to shield the region from the decrease in overall domestic visitor numbers, which were down -3.7 per cent to 886,000 for the quarter.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel said the figures highlighted the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, but shows campaigns to target the intrastate market had been successful.

“The second half of 2020 was dominated by uncertainty and disruptions caused by COVID-19,” he said.

“With over three million residents within a 300km radius of the Sunshine Coast, the region switched its strategy and focused on targeting this significant drive market to alleviate the declines from interstate and international sources.”

Stoeckel contributes this success to the launch of Visit Sunshine Coast’s new For Real branding, highlighting the destination’s uncrowded, natural-focused attractions and authentic characters and experiences.

“The NVS statistics are a great indicator to us that this new brand is right on point,” he said.

“It’s encouraging to hear that many of our Sunshine Coast operators have also enjoyed a strong summer period, with some operators even reporting above-forecast results for the period.

“However, many operators that have been unable to pivot their businesses to cater for an intrastate market are still doing it really tough, and there is still a lot more work to be done to support these operators navigate their way through COVID-19.”

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