Visitors to North Coast drop $3.2 billion tourism spend

WITH sun-kissed beaches, bustling art hubs and the sights and sounds of life away from the big smoke, it is little wonder visitors are spending $3.2 billion a year in the North Coast.

Tourism Research Australia's latest National Visitor Survey has revealed overnight visitors spent $2.6 billion in the region over the year to March, adding an extra $133 million to the previous year's tourism intake.

They spent 19.7 million nights in the North Coast, with only Melbourne and Sydney recording higher figures.

The region overtook Brisbane in terms of visitor nights and retained its position as Australia's biggest regional drawcard.

Day-trippers made their mark as well, with 6.7 million of them spending $755 million in the North Coast, up $154 million on the preceding 12 months.

NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said tourism growth was a common theme across the state, with holidaymakers and business travellers underpinning a record $16.4 billion spend for the NSW visitor economy.

"In the year ending March 2016, NSW received 28.6 million domestic visitors who stayed 92.1 million nights and spent $16.4 billion," Mr Ayres said.

"Holiday expenditure in NSW exceeded $7 billion for the first time ($7.2 billion) and business expenditure was up 11.2% to $2.8 billion," he said.

"Domestic visitors to NSW have spent more than $16 billion, delivering a massive injection to restaurants, hotels and tourism attractions."

Mr Ayres said interstate travel to the North Coast, primarily from Queensland, had grown 21.6% over the year, topping the second best performing region the Blue Mountains (+19.5%) and the Snowy Mountains (+12.2%).

"Not only is NSW attracting more interstate visitors but more people are also choosing to visit our regions," he said.

"Regional NSW welcomed a record 20.2 million overnight visitors, who contributed a record $9.6 billion in overnight expenditure." - ARM NEWSDESK

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