TWEED is shedding its retirement village image with a huge spike in domestic and international tourists, data reveals.
The latest figures from Destination Tweed show the number of international visitors for the year to June jumped 50 per cent on the previous 12 months.
Those 26,000 tourists also lifted the total number of bed nights to 272,000, up 41 per cent.
Domestically, 663,000 visitors stayed at least one night, up nearly 15 per cent on 2015-16. The 1.3 million day-trippers represented a 12 per cent increase.
The Shooter family are among those who travel to the Tweed Coast to escape hefty hotel prices and the busy beaches of the Gold Coast.
The family made the three-hour journey from Warwick to the coast to spend the school holidays on the beach this year.
"We have been going to North Burleigh for 16 years, but this year we decided to come here (Kingscliff) for the first time and we love it,” Ted Shooter said.
The family has spent 10 days at Kingscliff and said the restaurants and beaches would keep them coming back.
Mantra Group's Luke Moran said Twin Towers Mantra had recorded a significant increase from Chinese holiday-makers this year.
"Our international and inbound market has doubled recently,” he said.
Mr Moran said big events in the area had a flow-on effect for accommodation demand.
"Tweed Heads has a very relaxed approach to coast living. There is a great cafe and restaurant scene as well as some fantastic pubs and surf clubs with outstanding views.”
Destination Tweed CEO Rose Wright said the town was on a pathway to outshine many popular tourism spots.
"No longer can it be put into a box and stigmatised,” she said.
"The demographic has totally transformed in the past few years. We know the visitors are attracted to the area for the same reason the residents are.”
She said the Tweed was not looking to compete with the Gold Coast.
"The Gold Coast has a completely different offering to us and we don't plan on replicating it,” she said.