Gold Coast still top holiday spot

THE Gold Coast remains the most popular regional destination for Australian domestic tourists, according to the latest survey from accommodation booking website

The Gold Coast ranked fourth in the national list of favourite holiday spots and second in the top 10 Queensland destinations.

Wotif's top 10 Gold Coast holiday destinations in 2008 were (in order of popularity): Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Coolangatta, Main Beach, Burleigh Heads, Mermaid Beach, Ashmore, Hope Island/Sanctuary Cove, Labrador and Carrara/Palm Meadows.

The top five national holiday spots were Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide - the same order as 2007. general manager Megan Magill said the lists take into account bookings from both business and leisure travellers.

“It's great to see the major capital cities and regional areas included on the list and it's no surprise to see the Gold Coast ranking highly again,” Ms Magill said.

A survey of wotif customers found 11 per cent of respondents planned in 2009 to visit somewhere in Australia they'd never seen before.

“We are expecting to see domestic and trans-Tasman travel remain strong throughout this year, despite the current economic conditions,” Ms Magill said.

The strong interest in the Gold Coast as a holiday destination comes as a report suggested businessman Billy James plans to resurrect his controversial tourist cableway ride, from Coomera to the hinterland.

Mr James has reportedly claimed his consortium owns an 80ha parcel of land in the Darlington Range, suitable as a terminal station site.

He reportedly spoke out after release of a state government major projects wish list, which included a tourism “skywalk” at Purling Brook Falls.

Mr James' proposal has reportedly gained support from Opposition tourism spokesman Steve Ciobo.

Gold Coast City Councillor Bob La Castra also reportedly favours the cableway, provided it does not negatively impact on the environment.

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