The Southern Great Barrier Reef

The Southern Great Barrier Reef (SGBR) destination has recorded the strongest percentage domestic visitation growth in Queensland for the year ending September 2014, according to the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) data released by Tourism and Events Queensland today.

An 11.5% growth in visitors (total 1.8 million) and 16.5% growth in visitor nights (total 6.9 million) to the SGBR destination which encompasses the three regions of Capricorn, Gladstone and Bundaberg/North Burnett has been received with great optimism.

The Capricorn region, which includes the Central Highlands to the Keppel Islands (and the major towns of Emerald, Rockhampton and Yeppoon) has recorded the strongest growth to the destination in business travel (319,000 business travellers).

The overall visitor growth of 20% (total visitors 928,000) to Capricorn represents an increase of visitor nights of 15% (3.1 million visitor nights).

Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll said “we have experienced a record year end September result for business travel to the Capricorn region and to complement this, we have also seen a 5% increase in holiday travel over the past year.”

“The holiday visitation growth in the busy winter and events season has predominantly been in the Capricorn Coast and Central Highlands, whilst Rockhampton has attracted very positive business growth.”

“Whilst the NVS (National Visitor Survey) data is just one statistical indicator we use in our overall evaluation of our annual marketing activity, these results strongly complement the product development we have predicted and supported in recent years.”

“Business sectors like education and health, construction and transport continue to maintain strength in the Rockhampton region which has a direct positive impact upon our visitor economy.”

“There is absolutely no doubt that new product like Empire Rockhampton will complement other great hotels like the recently opened Regent, with Quest, Denison Boutique and Edge before them.”

“Major events have played a key role in increasing our leisure visitors, particularly to the Capricorn Coast and Central Highlands, with events like Village Festival, Gemfest Festival of Gems, Central Highlands Multicultural Festival and the Capricorn Food and Wine Festival receiving funding from the state government’s regional events program to help grow visitation.”

“Capricorn Enterprise also continues to increase our annual marketing spend, with additional funds spent during the year on specific Great Keppel Island, Capricorn Coast and Rockhampton television campaigns, reflected in this strong leisure growth.”

“The Central Highlands enjoyed strong growth in the drive market during the peak winter season with travelers visiting ‘bucket list’ destinations like Carnarvon Gorge and the Sapphire Gemfields, with some operators reporting their best visitation on record.”

“Some operators in the Sapphire Gemfields are attributing their growth to our successful Dig The Tropic campaign which was a state government contestable grant (total $77,500 campaign) in partnership with Capricorn Enterprise, Central Highlands Regional Council and Outback Tourism.”

“We enjoyed a record number of television shows like Queensland Weekender (seven individual stories), Better Homes and Gardens, Creek to Coast to our destination this year which I have absolutely no doubt have played a major role in visitor appeal.”

“Our strong partnerships with business and industry, neighbouring regions and organisations, Tourism and Events Queensland, local and state government is most definitely the key to destination success, but we must continue to collaborate, invest and work hard.”

Ms Carroll said “we have managed to stretch our limited budgets and resources by working in close partnership under the Southern Great Barrier Reef brand with Tourism and Events Queensland and the state government’s contestable funding opportunities with our neighbouring tourism regions of Gladstone/Town of 1770 and Bundaberg/North Burnett.”

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