HAPPY HOLIDAY: Riley Smith and Jack Taylor along with some girls having fun with a volley ball at the Ballina Spit.
HAPPY HOLIDAY: Riley Smith and Jack Taylor along with some girls having fun with a volley ball at the Ballina Spit. Nolan Verheij-Full

Northern Rivers tourism tipped to continue increase in 2015

AS 2014 comes to an end, the North Coast celebrates a good year for tourism growth and looks to 2015 to see the trend continue.

According to North Coast Destination Network Executive Officer, Belinda Novicky, 2014 saw the number of domestic visitors to the region increase by 3.2% while international expenditure rose by 18.6% from the same period last year.

"The North Coast has retained its position as the third most popular domestic tourism destination in Australia after Sydney and Melbourne according to Tourism Research Australia statistics", Ms Novicky said.

"The number of domestic visitors to our region increased to 4.6 million, domestic visitor nights were up by 8.6% to 18.8 million and total expenditure by those visitors increased 6.2% to $2.6 billion over the same period.

"At the same time, international visitor expenditure in our region increased to $168 million, international visitor numbers were up 7.1 per cent to 271,600 and visitors nights kept pace with an increase of 7.8% to 3.1 million nights," she said.

POPULAR: Liz Phillips and Linda Scott enjoying what Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head has to offer.
POPULAR: Liz Phillips and Linda Scott enjoying what Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head has to offer. Nolan Verheij-Full

Representing the domestic tourist market over the weekend was holidaymaker Linda Scott, from Brisbane, who was enjoying her second ever visit to Lennox Head.

Ms Scott said part of the attraction for her was the sheer amount of things to do in the region.

"We came to Lennox Head for the first time around this time last year," she said.

"It's just beautiful and scenic here, it's not too busy and there are plenty of things to do. We go kayaking, we do geocaching around here we also go fishing, and walking.

"We're already hoping to come back for our holidays next year, hopefully make it a regular trip."

Despite the positive figures however, Ms Novicky said the challenge for 2015 will be to retain the growth and most importantly to increase the overnight expenditure in the region.

"This can be best achieved by promoting more attractions, activities, special interest trails, drives and tours across the coast encouraging visitors to visit multiple destinations, discover new experiences, stay longer and spend more," she said.

"At the same time we believe international tourism numbers will increase in line with the lower Australian dollar, now at a new four-and-half-year low."



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