We apologise for any spelling errors in this week’s Destination Wrap. An unhealthy obsession with the café next door has led to Travel Weekly‘s editorial team developing some extreme coffee shakes.
Twelve Apostles records highest traffic ever in December
Parks Victoria has reported an estimated 260,000 people visited the Twelve Apostles during December 2019, representing the highest monthly amount since traffic counters were installed in 2015.
The visitors arrived in more than 40,000 cars, 6,000 coaster buses and 500 coaches, with the busiest day of the month, Sunday, 29 December, receiving more than 15,000 people – the highest daily number since Christmas Day 2018.
With the Australia Day public holiday and Chinese New Year celebrations expected to again draw tens-of-thousands to the region from 25 January, the current visitor and traffic management will remain in place until 9 February 2020.
The Chinese New Year festival is the biggest event on Melbourne’s Chinese calendar, featuring two weeks of celebration and festivities. Many families and groups enjoy the festival period by visiting regional Victoria, with the Twelve Apostles a favourite destination.
China is Victoria’s biggest international visitor market, with tourism figures showing more than 666,000 people arrived during the year to June 2019, spending $3.2 billion. Last year, around 126,000 people visited the Twelve Apostles during Chinese New Year.
Western Australia’s visitor numbers and spend the highest on record
The latest visitor data from Tourism Research Australia reveals the number of visitors to Western Australia, and their total spend, has again reached an all-time high.
According to the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS), which were released on Friday, WA had 2.87 million international and interstate visitors in the year ending September 2019.
The number of total overnight visitors was 11.8 million people who, together with day-trippers, spent $10.9 billion in the State, an increase of 17.9 per cent on the previous year.
Of this, $5.2 billion (48 per cent) was spent in regional WA.
International holiday visitors were also the highest on record for the state, with the number increasing by 13.2 per cent to 521,800, the highest amount of international holiday visitors WA has ever seen.
International holiday spend was also the highest WA has ever seen, with a year-on-year increase of 25.2 per cent to $870 million. As a result, total international visitor spend in WA increased by seven per cent, to $2.31 billion.
New Caledonia Tourism brings a taste of island life to ‘So Frenchy So Chic’ Melbourne
New Caledonia Tourism brought a taste of island life to So Frenchy So Chic in Melbourne, hosting a pop-up hammock relaxation lounge in the Werribee Park grounds influenced by the destination.
A proud sponsor of French music festival, So Frenchy So Chic, for the third consecutive year, New Caledonia Tourism hosted event guests, travel agent partners and MICE industry professionals in its Hamac Salon, which featured hammocks and hand massages to relax, all set to a sound track of music inspired by the South Pacific destination.
UAE expands tourist visas from 90 days to five years, as country prepares for World Expo 2020
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to increase the validation of tourist visas from 90 days to five years. Visas were previously valid for between 30 and 90 days.
The announcement comes just months away from Dubai’s hosting of World Expo 2020, an event expected to attract some 25 million visitors to the Gulf nation, over the course of 173 days.
Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the initiative was part of a push to attract more holidaymakers to Gulf countries, who are looking to move away from a dependence on oil, he tweeted.
Increased accessibility and launch of new Convention Centre drive record expenditure for Sunshine Coast tourism
Additional flights to Sunshine Coast Airport and the opening of the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre have contributed significantly to record tourism expenditure in the region in the year to September 2019.
The Sunshine Coast achieved record visitor nights and expenditure in the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS), measuring domestic travel to the region for the year.
Key figures include increases in:
- Yearly growth in overnight visitor expenditure (up 12.5 per cent to $2.6 billion)
- Total nights (up 17.4 per cent to 14.2 million)
- Total visitation (up 14.8 per cent to 3.97 million)
- Holiday visitation (up 9.5 per cent to 2.1 million); and
- Business visitation (up 34.6 per cent to 379,000).
Palaszczuk Government announces South East Queensland tourism strategy
The Palaszczuk Government is working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop an Indigenous tourism strategy for South East Queensland.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said South East Queensland offered a range of Indigenous tourism experiences, from the Dreamworld Corroboree experience on the Gold Coast to the Spirit of the Red Sands theatre show in Beenleigh and Brisbane’s Meeanjin markets.
“In this Year of Indigenous Tourism, we are placing a stronger focus on Queensland’s culture and heritage,” Palaszczuk said.
“The demand for cultural tourism experiences is booming globally. We’re committed to tapping into that growing demand to create jobs in Queensland.”
The Premier said the latest Tourism Research Australia data showed 351,000 international visitors to Queensland took part in an Indigenous tourism activity in the last year, such as visiting an Indigenous cultural centre or taking a tour with an Indigenous guide.
The data also shows around 116,000 domestic overnight trips to Queensland included an Aboriginal tourism experience.
What’s new in Los Angeles: Events, hotels and trends
Los Angeles has welcomed a new decade with hot offerings for the cooler months, including the open of several new hotels and the beginning of the MLS season.
Key winter event dates in and around LA:
- 17–31January: 2020 Winter dine LA Restaurant Week
- 26 January: 62nd Annual Grammy Awards
- 5–9 February: LA Art Show
- 9 February: 92nd Annual Academy Awards
- 14–16 February: Frieze Los Angeles.
Recently opened hotels:
- The Hoxton, LA (Fashion District, Downtown)
- Soho Warehouse (Arts District, Downtown)
- Silver Lake Pool and Inn (Silver Lake)
- The Wayfarer DTLA (South Park, Downtown)
- Downtown LA Proper Hotel (Fashion District, Downtown)
- The Godfrey Hotel (Hollywood)
- Fairmont Century Plaza (Century City).
Featured image: Australia’s Twelve Apostles (iStock.com/ymgerman)