CEO-Board Updates

June 2023 CEO Update

High-spending Sydney visitors helped to grow interstate travel to Tropical North Queensland for the year ending March 2023 generating a $2.6 billion boost to the economy, according to Tourism Research Australia’s National Visitor Survey figures released today.

This is a 92.6% increase on the $1.4 billion generated in the year ending December 2019, which was the last period unaffected by the pandemic.

Sydneysiders and holidaymakers from regional New South Wales helped to drive the growth with record numbers heading north. Sydney visitors grew by 28.3% from the year ending March 2019 to 249,000 and NSW visitors by 33.5% to 384,000. The 1.7 million Sydney visitor nights more than doubled 2019 figures with the average length of stay growing by 0.6 nights to 6.9 nights.

Total interstate visitors were up 37.1% from 2019 to 983,000 accounting for more than half of the total $4.3 billion domestic expenditure. The majority of interstate visitors continued to be from Victoria with a 38.7% increase from 2019 to 448,000 and Melbourne visitors increasing by 43.4% to 307,000.

These record figures are on the back of Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s third consecutive Summer campaign to drive domestic visitation beyond winter. The higher yielding greater Sydney and Melbourne markets were targeted with an integrated media approach and activity with retail partners including Expedia, Luxury Escapes and My Queensland. Public relations activity was also ramped up with $4.5 million in domestic publicity generated in November and December highlighting summer activities.

Increased interstate air capacity and new routes helped to boost numbers with seasonal Newcastle traffic in 2022, additional Virgin flights from Adelaide and Perth, and Qantas flights from Perth.

Total visitors were up 12.6% to 2.5 million and they extended their stay by 0.5 nights to an average of 5.5 nights generating 13.8 million visitor nights with the average spend per visitor up 52.3% to $1723. Holidaymakers continued to account for the majority of visitors with 1.5 million people holidaying in the region.

It is the first time in six quarters that Tropical North Queensland did not set an expenditure record, reflecting the softening of intrastate travel which has been very strong since Queenslanders emerged from the first lockdown in 2020. Intrastate visitors grew by just 0.8% from 2019 and for the first time declined from the previous year with a 2% drop to 1.5 million. Brisbane visitors grew by 11.8% from 2019 to 291,000 and interregional TNQ visitors fell by 5.8% to 695,000 as people ventured further from home.

The first regional interviews were undertaken in the March quarter for the International Visitor Survey, although sample sizes remain small. TNQ had 100,000 international arrivals, down 53.2% with 84,000 holiday visitors, down 58%. Our top three markets were the United States with 27,000 visitors, down 14.9%. the United Kingdom grew by 2.6% to 20,000 and Japan was down 63.3% to 10,000.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer