HOT SPOT: Heron Island, one of the many treasures within the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
HOT SPOT: Heron Island, one of the many treasures within the Southern Great Barrier Reef. James Vodicka

SGBR tourism outshines Gold Coast with visitor numbers

DOMESTIC overnight visitor numbers and tourism expenditure is growing at a higher rate at the Southern Great Barrier Reef than the Gold Coast, a new report has shown.

Tourism Events Queensland's visitor figures from March 2017 to March 2018 showed the SGBR's tourism expenditure grew 9.3 per cent to $1.1 billion.

The SGBR had the highest growth to domestic overnight stays across the state, with a growth of 10.2 per cent to two million tourists.    The second highest was at the Fraser Coast, with a 7.9 per cent increase.   

Meanwhile the Gold Coast had a -0.3 per cent decrease in tourism spending to $2.9billion and the number of people holidaying at the sunshine strip dropped by 2.1 per cent to 3.4 million. 

The statistics give further strength to the Gladstone, Bundaberg and Capricorn tourism bodies who form the SGBR brand and said on Tuesday it had been an amazing year. 

Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited chief executive Darryl Branthwaite said with new products set to come online this year, they expect numbers to continue to grow.   

"These results are no accident, as our three regions have been working very closely together in targeting the regional NSW market, and marketing to the low-hanging fruit being those within 400km radius," he said.   

Mr Branthwaite said the Gladstone Region had seen growth in visitor numbers to the tune of 17 per cent during the past 12 months, the largest growth within the Southern Great Barrier Reef.   

He said the figures did not include cruise ship numbers, which in the next 12 months will bring 35,000 visitors to Gladstone who will spend an estimated $10<TH>million across the region.   

Within the next month there will be 88 signs erected along the Bruce Highway and throughout the region.