Lack of international visitors cost Gold Coast $1.8bn

The lack of international visitors due to the pandemic has cost the Gold Coast $1.8 billion in spending, according to the latest figures.

International borders closed on March 17, shutting off some of the Gold Coast’s most lucrative markets including China, Korea, Japan and New Zealand.

The latest Destination Gold Coast annual report said that the pandemic restrictions hit just after the Gold Coast recorded its strongest December ever in terms of passenger volume.

“The Gold Coast was enjoying a bumper summer period on the back of record-breaking visitation — $14.2 million up 13.5 per cent, and a 4.1 per cent increase in expenditure in 2019,” the report said.

Every sector in the visitation economy was hit with the accommodation sector seeing occupancy drop to 55.8 per cent for the three months from April to June, while more than half (55%) of planned business events from March postponed and 22 per cent cancelled.

While the report acknowledged that competition in the tourism economy will be fierce in 2021 the Gold Coast is “well positioned” to bounce back.

“Although bouncing back to pre-COVID tourism levels make take a few years, the Gold Coast is well positioned to capitalise on its strong brand equity established over the past 60 years, and a market leader and preferred holiday destination,” the report said.