Queensland holidayers head south

HUGE numbers of south-east Queenslanders crossed the border for a holiday in New South Wales in the first quarter of 2008.

According to Northern Rivers Tourism chief executive officer Russell Mills, the huge surge of 617,000 visitors from south-east Queensland, an increase of 50 per cent on 2007, gave a healthy boost to tourism in the state.

The news comes days after the Quarterly review of National Visitor Survey was released by Tourism Research Australia.

Mr Mills, speaking from the Australian Tourism Exchange in Perth, said the result was surprising.

He said he wasn't expecting such large numbers considering the rotten weather in the first half of the year -- though south-east Queensland shared the bad weather.

While Mr Mills said the Tenterfield area took the largest proportion of the extra visitors, the Northern Rivers would have benefited as well.

The Northern Rivers was in the top 20 in the Quarterly Review.

In domestic day visitor expenditure the area was placed 19th in the country with an estimated visitor expenditure of $224 million from 2,746,000 visitors with $86 expenditure per visitor in the year ending March 31.

The area was 13th in domestic overnight expenditure, with $808 million spent by 1,815,000 visitors in the same period. Those visitors spent 7,006,000 nights in the area in the year ended March 31.

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said it was too early for him to comment on the quarterly results. He said he would wait on a consultant's report detailing the relevance of the new figures to the Tweed.

He expected the numbers to be down in the first quarter of 2008, due to the bad weather.

Mr Mills will be at the Tourism Exchange until June 20. He said it was Australia's premier international trade show where buyers and sellers of travel come together.

"We're (Northern Rivers Tourism) here this week ... representing the region," Mr Mills said.

This year, 600 overseas buyers from over 40 countries are expected to descend on Perth.



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