Past Media Releases

International visitors to Queensland reach historic high

15 March 2017

Overseas tourists’ love affair with Queensland is stronger than ever, with a record 2.6 million international visitors coming here during 2016, according to new data released today. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the latest Tourism Research Australia data proved Queensland’s tourism boom was going from strength to strength, and vindicated the Government’s effort to attract additional international flights into Queensland.

“In 2016 we saw international holiday visitation grow a further 14 per cent and overnight expenditure was also up to $5.1 billion,” the Premier said.

“Four of our top international markets – China, New Zealand, Japan and the USA – all delivered double-digit holiday visitor number growth.” 

“Tourism supports more than 220,000 directly and indirectly in Queensland, so such strong growth is good news for jobs.” 

“As a Government, we have also secured more than 500,000 additional inbound seats to Queensland.”

Speaking from London as part of preparations for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Ms Palaszczuk said the Games would be an important drawcard for tourists and promote Queensland to an estimated audience of 1.5 billion. 

Ms Jones said China remained Queensland’s largest market with 484,000 visitors, up a massive 21.4 per cent, and spending by Chinese visitors in Queensland was also up 6.8 per cent to $1 billion during this period.

“New Zealand and Taiwan were also star performers, both breaking visitor and expenditure records,” she said 

“Taiwan’s double-digit growth saw visitation increase 20 per cent with expenditure reaching $222 million up 27 per cent, while New Zealand’s 447,000 visitors spent around $600 million.” 

Ms Jones said the visitor growth was boosting regional communities across Queensland, by supporting local businesses and growing jobs. 

“Brisbane, Gold Coast, Tropical North Queensland (TNQ), and Whitsundays had the largest international visitation numbers on record,” she said.

“Overnight visitor expenditure in Brisbane and TNQ also hit historic highs, reaching $2 billion and $1.1 billion respectively.”  

Ms Jones said Queensland offered a holiday experience like nowhere else in the world. 

“From nature to culture, our state has an incredible offering of compelling tourism experiences,” she said.

“These latest visitor figures prove that Queensland’s unique destinations and experiences continue to be a major drawcard for international visitors.

“We want overseas tourists to come and share their stay with family and friends, then plan a repeat trip.”