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Tourists start the long, slow trek back to sunshine as travel spending surges


Tourists are flooding back into Queensland with data for March showing a jump in revenue of $369 million.

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The announcement came as the State Government revealed its tourism boss Leanne Coddington was stepping down from her role at Tourism and Events Queensland.

Her departure means that both the industry group’s Queensland Tourism Industry Council and TEQ will have new chief executives. Brett Fraser recently took over from Daniel Gschwind at QTIC.

Coddington had worked with TEQ for more than 25 years, and the last few were among the most devastating for the industry when the pandemic virtually shut down the tourism sector. The Government has announced a search for Coddington’s replacement.

The Federal Government’s national visitor survey showed an increase in the national spend by tourists of 6 per cent to a total of $6.8 billion.

However, overnight trips were down 17 per cent and nights spent on a trip fell 9 per cent to 27.7 million.

The survey said domestic travel in March was still affected by Covid but the increase in spending was a positive sign for the sector.

It found that spending in Queensland rose 25 per cent, easily eclipsing that of NSW with an 11 per cent increase. Spending fell for the month in Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

The increases were in accommodation, food and drink and shopping.

“Early data shows domestic overnight trip rates for April and the first three weeks of May were down in comparison to April, 2021. However, this was up on May 2021,” a report on the survey’s results said.

However, while tourism is slowly recovering from the pandemic, there are ongoing questions about the nation’s transport network’s ability to cope, with long queues and flight delays returning to Melbourne and Sydney airports.

As people took advantage of a long weekend to travel, Melbourne Airport was bracing for its busiest day since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, with more than 95,000 passengers expected to travel on Friday.

There were long lines to check in for Virgin flights early on Friday morning, with several routes cancelled or delayed.

Congestion at the airport has since eased but passengers have been urged to plan ahead and arrive early as terminals are likely to be busy across the day.

In Sydney, where more than 80,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport on Friday, queues began to build about 5am.

Travellers were urged to arrive two hours before their domestic flights.


The survey said the cumulative losses in overnight travel from Covid were now $54.6 billion.

The regions continued to cope well with a 4 per cent increase on overnight travel while spending was up 23 per cent. However, this was still down on the pre-pandemic levels.

During the month $3 billion was spent on overnight trips to capital cities and for the regions the spend was $3.8 billion.


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