On target for bumper tourism season
TOURISM in the Tweed is booming with more visitors coming and booking longer stays.
The latest tourism information shows the number of nightly stays for the year to September were up almost a quarter on the 12 months prior.
The boost is also flowing to Gold Coast Airport, which had 40,000 extra seats in December compared with the previous year.
Destination Tweed chief executive officer Bill Tatchell said the boom came on the back of increased airport capabilities and the fact the region now understood who liked to holiday here.
"This holiday period has been fantastic,” Mr Tatchell said. "We know how to leverage on the airport and this is an example of the airport with its increased capacity bringing more visitors.
"We've also really defined what our market is, in Sydney and Melbourne.”
The Tweed welcomed 580,000 tourists from September 15, 2015 to September 16, 2016 and those who came chalked up a whopping 2.2 million room nights, a 22% increase on the year prior.
The tourism head said the whole of the economy benefited as more visitors meant more jobs and more money pumped into local cash registers.
Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton said the surge in seat numbers for December highlighted the continued growth.
"The Christmas and New Year period is a busy time for most airports across the country and with the Gold Coast's status as Australia's tourism capital, that brings a spike in passenger movements at our airport,” Ms Charlton said.
"We have seen steady passenger growth in recent years which reflects the increasing popularity of the Gold Coast and northern NSW.
"We're expecting an increase of 40,000 seats in December 2016 from the same month in 2015.”
The airport had its busiest day on January 3, 2016, with close to 24,000 passengers. The airport is waiting for data to see if that mark is eclipsed this year.