Visitor growth boosts local economy

The NSW Central Coast visitor economy is gaining momentum, with visitors spending, and exploring, more in region.

Copacabana Beach.

3 April 2024


CENTRAL Coast Council’s Director Community and Recreation Services Melanie Smith said Council’s Central Coast Destination Management Plan 2022-2025 (CCDMP), which includes close collaboration with local tourism operators, has been instrumental in leading destination marketing and management initiatives contributing to this growth.


“The latest domestic data from Tourism Research Australia* shows the CCDMP’s implementation has significantly increased the value of the visitor economy and positively impacted key visitation metrics across the region. This includes a 24.5% increase in total regional expenditure, hitting $1.6B, coupled with a 20.6% increase in total domestic visitation (6M) in September 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.


“Additionally, the Central Coast achieved 63.6% year on year growth in domestic day trip expenditure, reaching $569.4M in September 2023, and there is increased visitor dispersal with seasonal travel to the region showing 33% in Summer, 25% in Autumn and 25% in Winter, and 18% in Spring,” Ms Smith said.


Council’s Destination Marketing and Visitor Services section provide an annual progress report to Council on the actions of the CCDMP. This annual report includes highlights and insights on the status of the region’s visitor economy.


Council CEO David Farmer said the CCDMP provides a strategic guide for tourism development and destination management for a four-year lifespan, aligning community, industry, government and Council interests, with state and regional priorities.


“The key to the successful delivery of the CCDMP is that it relies on stakeholder collaboration with industry to deliver the actions,” Mr Farmer said.


Mr Farmer noted that the Central Coast is now also home to Australia’s top Major Tourist Attraction – the Australian Reptile Park – which recently won Gold at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.


“More visitors, along with their additional spending, boosts the local economy, which in turn leads to more local jobs and a general lift across the Central Coast.”


Key highlights achieved in 2023 through implementation of the CCDMP include:


  • The new Central Coast Visitor Centre at The Entrance


  • Tactical tourism digital marketing campaigns in winter and during the FIFA Women’s World Cup


  • An award-winning ECO Advocate industry incentive program


  • Recognition at local, state, national and international level through numerous tourism industry awards


Council Administrator Rik Hart said the Central Coast is undoubtedly a major player in the national and global tourism sector.


“This was clearly evidenced with the Central Coast winning First Place at the Green Destinations Story Awards in Berlin recently,” Mr Hart said.


”I congratulate both the Destination Marketing and Visitor Services section of Council and the local tourism industry in achieving such significant growth, which benefits the entire Central Coast.”


View the Central Coast Destination Management Plan or visit Love Central Coast to see what this global award-winning region has to offer.


(*Statistics source: National Visitor Survey, Tourism Research Australia; September 2023; domestic data only)

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