Queensland welcomes more international visitors than ever

MORE international visitors than ever before are enjoying the pleasures Queensland has to offer with money ploughed into an extensive marketing campaign starting to pay dividends.

The International Visitor Survey run by Tourism Research Australia shows that some two million overseas tourists visited the State last year, an increase of 2%.

All-in-all they added $4 billion to the coffers, a welcome injection for an industry that has not had the best of times in the last five years.

The Whitsundays with a 10% increase was the pick of the regions attracting strong numbers from the UK and Europe while the Gold Coast, up 7%, also put its best foot forward, thanks to direct flights from Singapore and the expected growth from the Chinese and UK markets.

Tropical North Queensland also proved a popular spot with 648,000 overseas visitors, 143,000 of those from China alone while the Fraser Coast saw a 5% rise to 120,000 equating to $38 million in revenue.

The Sunshine Coast, always a favourite with domestic tourists, reflected a drop of 5% due in most part to the decline of New Zealand visitors who are now finding tropical escapes in Fiji and Bali.

There was a drop in numbers for Townsville, the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Mackay, the Outback and South Qld Country but Brisbane managed to lure close to a million overseas visitors.

"While New Zealand continues to be Queensland's largest market with 384,000 visitors, China remained our fastest growing and largest international market by visitor expenditure," said Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey

"The state welcomed an additional 42,000 Chinese visitors, spending $605 million on trips to Queensland in 2013.

"Overall visitation from Asia increased six per cent to 814,000 visitors who spent $1.7 billion in Queensland during the year to December 2013.

"Queensland saw significant increases in visitors from Asia, with the largest growth from India (up 37%), followed by China (up 16%), Taiwan (up 18%), Malaysia (up 9%), Singapore (up 11%) and Hong Kong (up 4%)."