Oct 22, 2015

NZ visit increase a case for direct flights

Denise Secomb

14th August 2015

A 45% growth in visitor numbers from New Zealand in the region during the March quarter highlights the need for direct flights, according to Townsville Enterprise, with the district outrunning a 5% national increase from NZ.

Latest international visitor statistics show visitor numbers from New Zealand have increased by 45% in the Townsville region, which includes Magnetic Island, with more than 11,000 visitors in the region during the March quarter, up from a drastic dip of 28% in the same quarter last year. Last year's dip compared to last year's loss of visitors to Cairns region of NZ visitors of 40%.

Figures released by Tourism and Events Queensland showed international visitation to Townsville North Queensland overall was up by 26.3% on the same time last year.

Overall, across our top five markets, China continues to lead Australian growth, according to Tourism Research Australia's figures for the year ending March, 2015, with the total trip spend increased by 25% to $6.4million. China now accounts for 20% of all trip spend by international visitors to Australia, up from 7% 10 years ago. American visitors were up 10%, nationally the NZ visitor increase was 5%, Singapore visitors were up 6% but results for the United Kingdom remained soft. Across all markets the largest growth occurred for India, with visitor numbers up 25% boosted by cricketing events.

Townsville Enterprise executive manager of tourism and events, Bridget Woods, said the Tourism and Events Queensland results were positive and reflect target marketing strategies.

“This is a major increase in visitor numbers from New Zealand and further highlights the already strong demand for direct flights for the country,” she said.

“We have the second largest New Zealand community in Queensland and these figures are predominantly visiting friends and relatives which we know is a sustainable visitor market.

“Our marketing activity in New Zealand is focussed on highlighting the events and drive opportunities in the region...

“These figures strongly support our advocacy efforts to secure direct flights and this data should give confidence to potential airline carrier that having direct services to NZ would be sustainable.

“The data also shows that expenditure by international visitors in the region was up by 4.3% which is in line with our goal to double visitor expenditure by 2020.”

The total number of international visitor nights in the Northern Region, which includes Magnetic Island and Townsville, has leapt to 1,376,000 for the year ending March, 2015, with a total dollar expenditure for this period of $80million, according to figures just released by Tourism Research Australia.

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