Sunshine Coast Destination chief executive Steve Cooper is feeling upbeat.
Sunshine Coast Destination chief executive Steve Cooper is feeling upbeat. Greg Miller

Tourism is on the rise: SCD chief

THE Sunshine Coast's tourism chief says the beleaguered sector has recovered to the point that operators felt it was "bordering on great".

Sunshine Coast Destination chief executive Steve Cooper yesterday said the deep malaise that gripped the tourism industry post-Global Financial Crisis was over.

However Mr Cooper cautioned the industry was still feeling some effects from the last GFC, with international arrivals still down.

The high Australian dollar was also affecting the inbound market, he said, although the drop in international arrivals had been offset somewhat by an increase in domestic arrivals to the region.

September 2011 quarterly figures showed domestic arrivals had increased 6% over the previous year.

While official statistics for the 2011 December quarter were yet to be released, SCD said anecdotal evidence from tourism operators painted a rosy picture.

"Things are good, bordering on great," Mr Cooper said.

"And I say that on behalf of an industry that's kicked some very significant goals through possibly the toughest of economical times over the last 15 years."

Overall, Mr Cooper said 2011 recorded modest growth despite the lingering effect of the GFC and the high Australian dollar.

He said it was now up the industry to work more collectively to lure more foreign tourists to the region.

Tremendous opportunities would also flow by better tapping Queensland's lucrative minerals belt, he added.


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