Strong trends in the domestic drive markets have pushed total international and domestic overnight visitation to the Fraser Coast close to 900,000 in 2017-18, which is up more than 20% on the previous year.
Fraser Coast Tourism & Events general manager Martin Simons said in total, the region hosted 879,000 overnight visitors in 2017-18 – 740,000 from within Australia, the majority from Queensland, and 139,000 from international markets.
The strong growth and longer stays in region pushed total Fraser Coast overnight visitor spending to $461.7 million, which was up 30% ($107 million) on the prior year, he said.
With the addition of day trippers who spent $54.9 million in the year, total direct visitor spending in the Fraser Coast region in 2017-18 was $516.6 million.
Mr Simons said total visitation was 1.5 million, bolstered by 627,000 people who came to the region on a day trip.
The visitation figures are based on telephone sampling of actual holiday-makers and visitors, carried out by Tourism Research Australia. The consolidated financial year data only became available with the release of the International Visitor Survey for the year to June 2018.
“While our doors are open to all tourism categories, overnight visitors are the primary target as 90% of our total visitor spend comes from those who book a Fraser Coast sleepover,” he said.
The strong year-on-year lift in visitor spend on the Fraser Coast in 2017-18 was driven by an increase in average length of stay to 4.5 nights for domestic travellers and 4.9 nights for international visitors and accompanying rises in spend per visit to $566 for Australians and $308 for internationals.
Mr Simons said FCTE was focusing the majority of its effort on the domestic market which represented 84% of all overnight visitors and 91% of overnight destination spend in the region in 2017-18.
“More than three-quarters, 78%, of all domestic visitors are from within Queensland so it is obvious where our attention should be,” he said.
New activity including a strong consumer campaign at east coast caravan and camping shows, winter and summer marketing campaign – helped in 2018 by the successful By the C concert – and new product opened in Mayrborough was helping to promote the region, he said.
Road traffic to our main visitor centres in Hervey Bay and Mayrborough has been particularly strong and, at one stage, VIC staff were searching far and wide to suggest park options for caravaners and RV owners.
“Caravan parks, resorts and accommodation – particularly Hervey Bay – reported 90% to 100% occupancy during the recent school holidays and the whale season has also been strong,” Mr Simons said.
FCTE’s visitation focus was primarily out of region through marketing campaigns, trade shows and encouraging more sporting tourism which is becoming increasingly important in encouraging people to trial the region.
The recent national and international media attention from the royal visit, with both major Australian networks doing live weather crosses from the region in the lead-up to or after the event had kept the Fraser Coast at the forefront.
“This was priceless marketing for the region and should help us maintain the momentum,” Mr Simons said.
“When in region, our focus is to encourage visitors to spend an extra day and the Visitor Information Centres performed a very strong role, benefiting by the additional product like the military and mural trail and new walking trails on Fraser Island.
“Fraser Island is the region’s icon and even at the height of the whale season, our visitor centres sell more tours there than any other location.”
Maryborough will be the proud host of the inaugural Australian Biosphere Conference on the 13-15 March, 2019.
The event will be hosted by the Great Sandy Biosphere Management Group and the neighbouring Noosa biosphere and will focus on the development and of programs and promotions to help protect the largest UNESCO-enshrined biosphere in the world.
For further information contact [email protected] or phone 07 4181 2999.
Fraser Coast is well positioned to become a leader in the rapidly evolving world of drones. It’s an economic growth area that will create jobs which today we can only imagine. For now, what we do know is that a lot of new jobs in five, 10 or 20 years to come will relate to drones.
The 2017 Queensland Government Drone Strategy quotes a 2016 report by Goldman Sachs that estimates potential drone market opportunities for consumer drones to reach US$17 billion by 2020, and the commercial and civil drone market to reach US$13 billion by 2020.
Recognising the potential of drones, Fraser Coast Regional Council wants to be at the forefront of developing and servicing the technology to deliver long-term economic and community benefits for our region. Therefore, we are encouraging local entrepreneurs to embrace the many opportunities that will surface in years to come.
Building on Maryborough’s renowned engineering and manufacturing excellence dating from the 1860s, Council wants to establish the city as a Drones Centre of Excellence. With 5700 businesses already registered across the Fraser Coast, that number has the potential to expand rapidly with various drone-related activities.
Drones range in size from hobbyist models now on the market to flying cars, also known as Personal Mobility Vehicles (PMV). In June 2017, Global media company Forbes reported flying cars were close to moving from fiction to reality: “In the past five years, at least eight companies have conducted their first flight tests and several more are expected to follow suit, which is indicative of the frenzied activity in this space.”
Meanwhile, Council could use sooner-to-be-developed drones for tree inspections, weed control, road analysis, security and even inspecting the condition of screws on piers and bridges. Applications could also fan out to scientific marine research and protection of dugongs and sea grasses.
Already, Maryborough State High School is planning to run drone courses in 2018 and more local schools are expected to take on drone technology as part of their curriculum in the next few years.
This is a space we’re definitely heading and Council is looking for community input. It’s an exciting venture as we forge ahead. We will be part of the drone industry.