China drives Gold Coast tourism to 1m visitors

The Gold Coast, Queensland
The Gold Coast, Queensland

Australia’s Gold Coast set a new record for international tourism last year, attracting 1.03 million visitors in the 12 months to December 2016.

The latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) figures show a 13.9% increase compared to the previous 12-month period, which boosted the full-year total above the one million mark for the first time.

Holiday traffic (+14.2% to 812,000) accounted for the vast majority of international visits to the Gold Coast in 2016, especially from the Chinese market. The number of arrivals from China surged 20.8% to 292,000 in 2016, 94% of whom came to the Gold Coast for a holiday.

“The Gold Coast continues to be the key driver for visitors to Queensland, with almost half of all international visitors to the state coming here,” said Gold Coast Tourism’s CEO, Martin Winter. “International visitors spent AU$1.2 billion (US$907m) in this period – further evidence we are consolidating our appeal as the nation’s most favoured destination.

“As we approach the GC2018 Commonwealth Games, we will drive the growth of the AU$5.1 billion tourism industry through the implementation of our new marketing strategy, concurrent with growth of our new brand position,” he added.

China (292,000) was the largest international source market for the Gold Coast in 2016, ahead of New Zealand (204,000), the UK (71,000), Japan (63,000) and the US (38,000).

“Chinese visitors are strongly attracted to our natural assets, wildlife, pristine beaches, big blue skies, shopping and dining,” Winter added. “We will continue to engage with the China market and work closely with industry and our destination stakeholders to provide a great experience for our Chinese visitors and to deliver significant benefits to the city as a whole.”

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