Gold Coast targets Gulf rebound

Gold Coast targets Gulf rebound
By admin


Gold Coast Tourism is confident Australia will see growth return from the Middle East after a year of shrinking arrivals from the region.

Tourism Research Australia revealed Queensland welcomed 14,045 visitors in 2011, a decline of 8% from 2010. The majority of those headed for the Gold Coast, drawn by theme parks, luxury apartments, shopping and beaches.

In a panel discussion at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Gold Coast Tourism international director Gordon Price blamed the decline on a combination of the effect of H1N1 and the global financial crisis, along with the timing of Ramadan.

But he was confident that numbers would recover.

“We believe emphatically that as the market itself rebounds, Gold Coast will see a return to the tremendous growth that had already been witnessed up until 2008,” he said.

He stressed the destination’s commitment to the market, demonstrated by its “Ramadan-friendly approach” to marketing in recent years.

The Ramadan-focused initiatives, including an evening lounge with complimentary Iftar and shisha during the religious month, had proved popular, he claimed.

Long stays and high expenditure made the market particularly valuable, with Price putting it at more than $80 million per year.

“The Middle East is a predominantly family market that stays for, on average, around three weeks on the Gold Coast, residing in quality four and five star accommodation,” he said. They also splurged on day trips and tours, he added.

Senior lecturer at Emirates Aviation College Sunil Malhotra supported the findings with new research showing average travel spend from Gulf countries ranged between $1606 and $4100 per person per day. They also spent 260% more on airfares than the global average.

He reported the average length of holiday was between 21 and 56 days long, often incorporating more than one country.

Family units ranged between six and 12 members, often travelling with a maid, meaning families offered the “best return on investment,” Malhotra said.

Meanwhile, Sydney-based JC Travel, which specialises in inbound travel from the GCC to Australia, reported a 50% surge in bookings in 2011.

The operator has been exhibiting at ATM since 2004 and used to exhibit on the Tourism Australia stand before the tourism body withdrew from the conference.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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