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Tourism picking up in Queensland

By Greg Bell

Commercial property investors with a focus on hospitality and tourism ventures will be pleased with the visitor numbers that Queensland, and Australia in general, received throughout the year.  According to Tourism Research Australia (TRA), the amount of visitors to the state increased by four percent from September 2013 to September 2014 and the amount of money they spent over that period increased by three per cent.

Tourism figures for Queensland

Tourism is a thriving industry in Queensland and it's no wonder with all of the fantastic natural attractions on offer, as well as the world class events the city holds. The figures released by TRA this year show an interesting trend for commercial holiday operators and accommodation providers.

Although the amount of visitors has increased four per cent for the year ending in September, with 2,121,000 visitors (up from 2,047,000), the amount of time spent visiting has decreased. Although the number of tourists increased, the number of nights spent did not change for the year. This means that visitors are cramming more experiences into fewer days.

This is a significant insight for hospitality and tourism operators, as it shows that clients are becoming more time-sensitive, but are not averse to spending more money. Money spent by tourists over the 12 month period increased from $3995million to $4103million according to the TRA. Operators in these industries should be able to increase their revenue by providing options that will suit time-poor visitors with higher spend allocations.

Interestingly, figures from the TRA reveal that domestic overnight visitors outnumber international holiday makers by almost nine-to-one, although international visitors tend to stay for longer periods of time compared to interstate travellers.

The 2,121,000 international visitors in the year to September stayed for over 46 million nights, while over 18 million domestic travellers spent around 78.5 million nights in the state. Interstate visitors spent almost three times as much in total, which makes the per visitor spend around one third of the value of an international visitor.

While domestic travellers may spend less per person, the sheer number of interstate visitors could present a massive commercial property opportunity for investors looking to achieve significant holdings in real estate around the coast and other tourist attractions.

Visitors to Australia

The country as a whole has experienced an increase in international attention, with 15 key markets significantly increasing their holiday numbers in Australia. China increased its visitors to Australia by ten per cent, the USA by 11 per cent and New Zealand by 4 per cent. Many Asian countries increased their overseas excursions to Australia by percentages in the double figures, according to a release from the TRA.

Australia's biggest tourism market is currently China, with a total trip expenditure of $5.4billion (up 18 per cent), followed by the UK at $3.7billion (up 12 per cent) and the USA with $2.7billion (up nine per cent).

New Zealand increased its spend in Australia by eight per cent to reach a total of $2.4billion, while Japan rounded out the top five markets with a $1.4billion spend, and increase of four percent.

Benefit to Queensland investors

While Australia as a whole has been increasing its appeal to other countries, Queensland has benefited more than most in terms of tourist numbers and dollars spent.

Every single state experienced an increase in both visitor numbers and trip spend, Queensland had the second highest amount of visitors behind New South Wales, and the third highest spend, behind NSW and Victoria.

The lower spend for Queensland is representative of the relatively lower cost of inputs in the state, compared to more expensive markets like Melbourne and Sydney. This is typified by the higher spend in Victoria, even though the state had slightly fewer visitors.

With an ever-increasing stream of domestic and international visitors to the state, it's no wonder that Surfers Paradise tourism investments are making so much sense right now.

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