Visitor numbers spike yet again

By Greg Bell

From the relaxing aura of Lamington National Park to the thrills of Dreamworld, there's no shortage of tourist attractions in our part of the country. Our strong tourism economy underpins the success of people in commercial property on the Gold Coast, whether it's restaurateurs or retailers.

And with the release of Austrade and Tourism Research Australia's (TRA) latest report on figures for the industry, we can reflect on an excellent year in visitor activity.

It was a very good year

While Queensland didn't have the strongest overall showing for visitor numbers, we came a very respectable third place behind New South Wales and Victoria. Over the year to September, we racked up 19.77 million visitors – an 8 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period.

When you consider that tourism boosted the national economy by $111 million over this time period, there's sure to be strong cash flow coming through the Gold Coast for commercial property owners. After all, more visitors means more customers!

The Queensland government knows the importance of this, too. In a 16 December response to the report, Tourism Minister Kate Jones highlighted growth in both visitors and expenditure across the board.

"Domestic holiday travel to Queensland increased by 2 per cent while visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel increased 3 per cent, resulting in a total overnight expenditure of $14.2 billion," she noted.

"On the back of a record $4.7 billion in international visitor expenditure in the latest international survey results, this is great news for Queensland."

Business trips backing the growth

While tourism is responsible for a lot of the growth in visitor numbers, a huge upswing was observed by TRA in business trips throughout the Sunshine State.

"Business travel to Queensland continued as the strongest-performing market with a 28 per cent rise, showing confidence in the state is high and growth is strong," Ms Jones added. Business travel accounted for some 80 million nights spent here by visitors. This suggests that Gold Coast commercial operators like hoteliers might want to target this market a little more.

The City of Gold Coast's market intelligence unit writes about this in a recent In Focus piece, highlighting the makeup of visitors to the Gold Coast. It notes that the United Kingdom and New Zealand are two major sources of/contributors for visitors as well as long-term residents. In fact, four of the top five countries for visitor numbers are also prominent sources of long-term visitors here. 

"Tourism inflows can result in increased permanent migration and vice versa, permanent migration can result in increased international visitation (particularly in the growing visiting friends and relatives market)," the article reads. 

This indicates that people in commercial real estate here could market their business to a few core markets and get a large slice of consumer interest. People from NZ and the UK actually make up nearly half of the Gold Coast's overseas-born population, according to the In Focus article. 

Go with the flow

The boost that visitor numbers gives to the economy and your business cannot be understated. It increases cash flows, bumps up employment prospects and keeps retail industries on the Gold Coast chugging along nicely. That's why the strong visitor numbers for Queensland are great news for anyone operating here. 

If you've got an eye on leasing commercial property here, make sure to talk to us at Ray White Surfers Paradise. We've got a keen interest in the local market, having spent years helping people find the exact commercial real estate they need. Whether it's an industrial lease or an office purchase, we can help you out. 

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