Cape Byron
Cape Byron David Nielsen

International tourism surges 10% on North Coast, Govt says

OVERSEAS tourism on the North Coast surged nearly 10% last year with close to 300,000 international visitors travelling to the region, new figures show.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres announced the figures yesterday, saying 3.3 million overseas visitors had visited the state in 2014-15, a rise of 6%.

The North Coast's percentage increase was higher than that, at 9.3%, while other parts of the state recorded rises of 12.3% (South Coast) and 49.1% (Outback NSW).

While the North Coast had the smallest increase among those areas described as having "significant growth", it had the highest overall figure for regional NSW at 292,300).

Most of the overseas tourists coming to the North Coast ended up at Byron Bay. *

A spokeswoman for Mr Ayres said the Byron Shire accounted for 183,000 - nearly two thirds - of the North Coast's international visitors. Byron Shire's overseas visitation rate was itself up 9.2%, from 168,000 in the 2013-14 financial year.

Mr Ayres credited the increased visitor numbers to tourism campaigns promoting regional NSW, such as the Legendary Pacific Coast campaign.

"Visitors to NSW stayed a total of 79.7 million nights, with visitor expenditure hitting a record $7.7 billion," Mr Ayres was quoted saying in a statement.

"Importantly, we continue to see significant increases in visitor numbers, with a six per cent rise compared to the year ended June 2014. Our visitors also spent 10.3 per cent more than a year ago and stayed almost six per cent more nights."

Overseas tourism to regional NSW overall reached a total 673,900 visitors, up 9.6%, with five regions listed as having experienced "significant growth".

These were: 

  • North Coast (292,300 visitors, +9.3 per cent),
  • Hunter (164,300, +14.5 per cent),
  • Blue Mountains (99,500, +18.3 per cent),
  • South Coast (124,800, +12.3 per cent) and
  • Outback NSW (13,300, +49.1 per cent)

* This story has been updated to reflect specific figures for the number of international tourists visiting Byron Bay.

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