DOMESTIC tourists are spending more nights on the North Coast than nearly any other Australian destination, new figures show.
The Tourism Australia Research statistics rank the NSW North Coast the third highest in the country, behind Sydney and Melbourne, for most domestic visitor nights.
North Coast Destination Network executive officer Belinda Novicky said before the two tourism regions combined, the Northern Rivers had been ranked between 11 and 13 for overnight stays, and the North Coast between 9 and 11.
"We were both still in the top 15, but we always were behind the Gold Coast (and) Sunshine Coast," she said.
Ms Novicky said the North Coast tourism team were very pleased to see the region ranked so high.
"Even when we were combined we didn't expect to be number three," she said.
"We knew that it would push us further up in the ranking, but it's definitely shown that as a destination we've increased.
"I think it just signifies how important the visitor economy is to the North Coast and how important it is for us to sustain our tourism industry."
While the number of nights visitors are spending on the North Coast is high, figures show the amount each visitor is spending is significantly less.
Ms Novicky said there had been a visible increase in food, art and culture as a tourism attraction on the Coast.
Visitor nights in regions (for year ending March 2014):
- Sydney: 23,191,000
- Melbourne: 20,363,000
- North Coast NSW: 17,939,000
- Brisbane: 15,206,000
- Gold Coast: 14,184,000
Average expenditure per visitor per night on accommodation:
- Sydney $377
- Melbourne $374
- Brisbane $307
- Adelaide $300
- North Coast $165
SOURCE: Tourism Research Australia