NORTH Stradbroke Island is enjoying a tourism boom thanks to international travellers.
Figures from Tourism Research Australia show an increase in international visitor numbers to the Redlands, including North Stradbroke Island from 15,702 in the year ending March 2016 to 23,419 at the end of March.
Anecdotal numbers recorded this year by transport operator Stradbroke Island Holidays suggest most international tourists have been coming from Europe, particularly Germany and France. This is followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.
From the Asian market, Japanese tourists made up the highest number travelling to the island in 2017.
It could not come at a better time for the beleaguered island which faces a potentially crippling economic slump as its sand mining industry winds down.
Redland mayor Karen Williams said tourism was critically important for North Stradbroke Island as it moved out of mining by 2019.
“Tourism is one of eight key industries identified for Redlands in the Redland City Economic Development Framework,” she said.
“The framework identifies a goal that tourism will account for more than 3 per cent of Redlands’ Gross Regional Product by 2041.
“...It is critical that support is in place to foster alternate employment, not just through the growth in visitor numbers but the planning and physical infrastructure to allow this growth to happen.
“...Council and tourism industry stakeholders are lobbying the state government and state opposition to increase financial commitment to the North Stradbroke Island economic transition.”
As part of the economic transition strategy, council, Straddie Chamber of Commerce and the government are studying data to look at trends and opportunities.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said international tourists were flocking to Queensland, with 2.6 million visitors pumping a record-breaking $5.2 billion into the state’s economy.
Data showed international visitation increased by 6.8 per cent in the year to March 2017.