CEO-Board Updates

29 June 2022 CEO Update

Strong spending by visitors has brought a record $3 billion tourism expenditure boost to the Tropical North Queensland economy.

The latest National Visitor Survey figures showed Australian holiday makers were spending more and staying longer in Tropical North Queensland making it the strongest growing region in the State over the past year.

Aussie travellers to Tropical North Queensland spent a record $3 billion in the year ending March 2022, up 18.8% from 2019. However, we are still $500 million short of pre-pandemic levels because our $1 billion international visitor market is yet to return.

The 1.1 million holiday visitors stayed a record 6.5 million nights, up 6.5% from 2019, with an average length of stay of 5.7 nights.

The domestic visitor spend per night is up 23.3% from pre-Covid figures to $276 with much of that achieved through buoyant average daily accommodation rates and an increase in spend on food and beverage.

Queenslanders remained our largest source market with a record 1.5 million visitors (up 2.9% on 2019) staying a record 6.5 million nights.

We entertained 524,000 interstate visitors with lower New South Wales and Victorian numbers reflecting the border closures in 2021.

The results are extraordinary given that the region’s two largest domestic markets were locked out of Queensland for much of 2021.

This record boost in visitor expenditure for our regional economy is on the back of strong tourism investment by Cairns Regional Council to help drive employment in our community and new funding by the Federal Government to focus on the domestic market.

State Government support through initiatives like the Holiday Dollars, which were launched in Cairns, helped drive vital intrastate visitation through the early part of the reporting year while borders were closed.

Outstanding results like this reflect the targeted marketing and public relations the additional funding has allowed the TTNQ team to roll out over the past 12 months to educate the domestic market about the world-class experiences on offer just a short plane ride away.

Many Australians are discovering just how spectacular the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest are for the first time and they are blown away that Cairns is a cosmopolitan tropical city with accommodation, food and beverage offerings equal to those in our capital cities.

We are now in the midst of an extended school holiday season with domestic passenger numbers at Cairns Airport above pre-COVID levels and accommodation levels very strong across the region. International visitors are starting to trickle through, but we need to continue to attract strong domestic visitation as our international recovery will be slow.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer