International visitors have a thing for the NSW North Coast

THE MACLEAY Valley – along with the rest of the North Coast – is increasingly loved by people from overseas, according to the latest tourism figures.

Statistics from Tourism Research Australia show strong growth in visitor numbers to our region.

Local MP Luke Hartsuyker said the figures from the International Visitor Survey show more international tourists are visiting the North Coast, and they are staying longer and spending more.

“Around 331,000 international tourists visited the NSW North Coast Tourism Region (defined as the region starting north of the Hunter all the way to the Queensland border) in 2016 and spent $198 million. That’s a 12 per cent increase in visitor numbers on the previous year, and a 28 per cent increase over the past three years,” Mr Hartsuker said.

“The average spend per person has increased to $598, up 28 per cent over three years. Our region hosted 3.5 million visitor nights in 2016, up 12 per cent over the previous year and 19 per cent over three years.

“The survey confirms the NSW North Coast tourism industry continues to register strong growth – driving local jobs and economic growth.

“Figures produced by the Transport and Tourism Forum in 2015 estimated there were more than 3500 people in the Cowper electorate directly employed in tourism.

“The growth in visitor numbers since that time is delivering more jobs for locals and new opportunities for business owners.

“Locally, we are investing in important tourism infrastructure like the Port Macquarie airport upgrade, new cinema project in Kempsey, and the Jetty Foreshores project in Coffs Harbour. The Pacific Highway upgrade is also making it more convenient for domestic tourists to visit our region.

“The Coalition government is acting to further harness the growth in tourists from key Asian nations including through a landmark open aviation market between China and Australia increasing aviation capacity, trial of 10-year multiple entry visas and enabling Chinese nationals to apply for visitor visas online.”

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