NATIONALS Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has welcomed the release of the latest international tourism figures from Tourism Research Australia which show strong growth in visitor numbers to our region.
Mr Hartsuyker said the figures from the International Visitor Survey show more international tourists are visiting the NSW North Coast Tourism Region, and they are staying longer and spending more.
“These figures demonstrate that the NSW North Coast is still a preferred destination for international tourists, and is becoming more popular with visitors choosing to stay in the region for longer,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Around 331,000 international tourists visited the NSW North Coast Tourism Region (defined as the region starting north of the Hunter all the way to the Queensland border) in 2016 and spent $198 million. That’s a 12 per cent increase in visitor numbers on the previous year, and a 28 per cent increase over the past three years.
“The average spend per person has increased to $598, up 28 per cent over three years. Our region hosted 3.5 million visitor nights in 2016, up 12 per cent over the previous year and 19 per cent over three years.
“The survey confirms the NSW North Coast tourism industry continues to register strong growth – driving local jobs and economic growth.
“Figures produced by the Transport and Tourism Forum in 2015 estimated there were more than 3500 people in the Cowper electorate directly employed in tourism.
“The growth in visitor numbers since that time is delivering more jobs for locals and new opportunities for business owners.
“Tourism remains an important focus for the Turnbull Government, with our vibrant tourism sector forecast to continue its growth trajectory over the next decade.
“Locally, we are investing in important tourism infrastructure like the Port Macquarie airport upgrade, new cinema project in Kempsey, and the Jetty Foreshores project in Coffs Harbour. The Pacific Highway upgrade is also making it more convenient for domestic tourists to visit our region.
“The Coalition Government is acting to further harness the growth in tourists from key Asian nations including through a landmark open aviation market between China and Australia increasing aviation capacity, trial of 10 year multiple entry visas and enabling Chinese nationals to apply for visitor visas online.
“A recent announcement of additional flights between Indonesia and Australia will also increase flight capacity by up to 13 per cent and initiatives such as streamlining visas in key markets like Indonesia will further stimulate visitors.
“To support the tourism industry to grow further the Turnbull Government has committed a record $639 million for Tourism Australia to market Australia overseas.”
The International Visitor Survey is available on the Tourism Research Australia website: www.tra.gov.au.