In just the past few years, holiday resorts have seen a dramatic rise in visitor numbers.
The Queensland government has invested heavily in new resorts and infrastructure, and in May it announced it was investing $6 billion in new tourism projects across the state.
It’s a trend that will likely continue into the next year and into the future.
“Tourism is a great investment in the state of Queensland,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in May.
“I think we’re on the verge of a huge boom.”
This boom is expected to have a major impact on tourism in the region, but it’s not the only factor.
“There’s another big one in the tourism industry that we know about,” said Steve Williams, a professor at the Australian Institute of Tourism.
“The big issue is the number of visitors that come to the Sunshine Coast to spend holidays and spend money.”
And while there have been signs that the Sunshine’s tourism economy has been hit hard by the global economic downturn, Williams said he’s still optimistic that it will rebound in the years ahead.
“We are seeing the tourism growth and we’re seeing it accelerating, and that’s a really good sign for the region,” he said.
“People will be going back to the region.”
Williams said tourism in Queensland has been on a slow decline for the past 10 years, with tourism numbers falling by 8.4 per cent from 2009 to 2020.
“It’s not just tourism, it’s the number that goes through our hospitality sector, our accommodation industry, the hotel industry, everything is impacted,” he explained.
“And we’re getting hit hard.”
One of the main drivers of that decline, Williams says, is the lack of accommodation options.
The Sunshine Coast has long been a prime destination for holidaymakers, but there are only a handful of accommodation rentals in the area.
“With the downturn in tourism, there’s a huge amount of people in that market that are not really willing to pay for a place,” he told AM.
The Tourism Council of Queensland says it will be pushing for more accommodation options in the Sunshine region. “
They’ve been hit particularly hard by climate change, by a lot of things, and we are seeing that again.”
The Tourism Council of Queensland says it will be pushing for more accommodation options in the Sunshine region.
“If you have an affordable, quality accommodation option, and the tourism sector is getting better, you’re going to attract more people,” said Tkaczczyk.
“A lot of people who used to just come to Queensland, because they couldn’t afford to go to another part of the country, now they’re looking for a cheaper option.”
And for those looking to spend their holiday, the outlook is better.
The State Government has promised to increase the number and size of tourist holidays in the next 12 months.
It wants to make it easier for people to book a holiday for up to seven days.
And it will invest $6.2 billion over four years to expand the number, while it will also increase the price of accommodation to $1,200 per night.
This will allow the Sunshine to expand its holiday options, including more accommodation, and will give more people the opportunity to spend more money.
It also means more opportunities for people who can’t afford a hotel to come to a resort and enjoy the hospitality they’ve been missing for years.
“You can’t just go and get a holiday in another state, you need to have the same level of accommodation as in Queensland,” Williams said.
He said the Government should also consider ways to boost the quality of accommodation available for tourists.
“As long as you’re spending money in the same way you’re planning to spend it, and if you’re having a good time, people are going to come back,” he added.
“For a lot, you can do that in your own community, but if you have the right infrastructure, if you get to a place that’s clean, if your people are really comfortable, if they’ve got good access to services like they need, you’ve got a lot more opportunities to do that.”
Williams is hopeful that the new holiday and hotel infrastructure will make a difference.
“These are all things that the Government needs to look at,” he says.
And that’s where the money comes in.”