Airports, airlines and tourism booking platforms have all enjoyed strong surges in demand from travellers looking to book Queensland holidays in the past week, showing positive signs for the industry’s ongoing recovery.
New data released today shows close to 146,000 people flew into Queensland’s largest airports over the Easter long weekend. 38,000 flew into Cairns, 50,000 flew into the Gold Coast, 40,000 into Brisbane and 17,900 to the Sunshine Coast.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said airlines were also reporting a huge surge in demand for trans-Tasman services, adding more than 230 flights per week to New Zealand’s major airports following the announcement of unrestricted travel both ways commencing this month.
Meanwhile searches on Expedia.co.nz have surged by almost 460 per cent compared to last week.
The Premier said Queensland’s record investment in tourism was helping the industry bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
“After a tough year for our tourism industry, things are starting to look up for many operators in some of our most important visitor destinations,” the Premier said.
“We’re investing millions of dollars in new marketing campaigns and to fast-track direct flights back to Queensland because we know this is an important part of our economic recovery plan.
“We’ve seen good numbers to many regions over Easter and with more flights from New Zealand, we’re expecting numbers to grow in coming weeks.
“We’re Good to Go and ready to welcome these visitors to Queensland.
“It’s no secret that Queensland has some of the world’s best tourism experiences, attractions and destinations.
“So it’s no wonder that our destinations dominate searches on Expedia.co.nz – with Gold Coast top of the list and Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in the top five.
“Tourism supports thousands of businesses and thousands of Queensland jobs. We want to see those businesses and those jobs get through this pandemic.”
The recent surge in demand comes on top of a successful Christmas school holiday period, where latest Tourism Research Australia (TRA) figures show that, despite a January lockdown, the January holiday season brought the most visitors and visitor spend for Queensland in a year.
Visitors spent $1.9 billion in Queensland in January 2021, up from $1.3 billion spent in December 2020, according to TRA’s National Visitor Survey.
TRA’s ‘Tourism Recovery Scenarios’ report, released last week, also showed Queensland was mostly likely to recover faster than any other state or territory, returning to pre-pandemic 2019 domestic tourism levels around March 2022.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Easter and the school holidays had delivered an economic boost for some destinations.
“We’ve had encouraging reports of Easter occupancy rates seeing positive growth and continuing into the school holidays,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“There’s solid demand for Queensland holiday experiences but we know there’s still work to be done with not all destinations enjoying the same strong results.
“Easter, the school holidays and news of the New Zealand travel bubble have certainly boosted optimism among tourism operators that have done well, although confidence is patchy in areas of the state that haven’t.
“We’ll continue to support initiatives to grow visitor numbers and provide a hand-up to operators where they need it.
“The Palaszczuk Government is already ramping up marketing in New Zealand to let Kiwis know Queensland is Good to Go with targeted approaches for domestic tourism to specific regions on the way.”