Eurobodalla Shire Council says the area had welcomed an estimated 1.16 million visitors by the end of summer, representing a new high in overnight domestic visitors and a small trend upwards in international visitors.
The figures were based on the independently prepared Eurobodalla Tourism Monitor for the year ending March 2015, which detailed estimates based on data compiled from Tourism Research Australia’s National and International Visitor Surveys.
Mayor Lindsay Brown said the council and the industry used the monitor and other tourism research to determine how and where to invest in marketing campaigns.
“The number of overnight domestic visitors reached a new high for Eurobodalla in this 12 month period,” Councillor Brown said.
“Domestic day visitors are still trending down, but have pulled out of the slump that we saw last year, and the number of international visitors remain solid.”
Cr Brown is chair of the Eurobodalla Tourism Advisory Committee.
‘The April 2014 to March 2015 data shows that around 742,000 people stayed overnight in Eurobodalla for a total of 2.4 million nights. Of those overnight visitors, 96.7 per cent were travellers from Australia - domestic visitors - and the other 3.3 percent came from overseas.
“The remaining 420,000 visitors were day trippers and one of Eurobodalla’s key challenges is to get this group to spend more by staying overnight and spending on eating out and activities,” Cr Brown said.
“The size of this group demonstrates the importance of markets within a few hours driving distance, and the need to be in these markets, talking about reasons to stay longer and spend more, before they visit.”
Tourism employs more than 25 per cent of the local workforce and Cr Brown urged residents to encourage visiting friends and family to get out and spend.
“Take them to the zoo, book them on a kayak trip, send them up in the seaplane or take them out for lunch and a shopping trip when they get home from the beach or a walk,” he said.
“The tourism dollar is highly sought after and very sensitive to the economic environment.
“Not only are we competing against other destinations in Australia and overseas, we also compete against the rise in spending on home renovations, cooking at home, and investment into home entertainment technologies.
“Our Canberra market, for example, has reduced over the past ten years and this may be attributable to the increase in events, attractions, shopping and food and wine experiences in Canberra – there are simply more reasons for them to stay in Canberra for a weekend now.”
The Eurobodalla Tourism Monitor is prepared by Tourism Strategy Development Services.