International visitor arrivals to the Gold Coast fell by -6% in Q1, 2011, according to figures released today by Tourism Research Australia. Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said the result was anticipated given the significant natural disasters faced by two of the Gold Coast’s biggest international source markets and the strength of the Australian dollar. “We can now see just how much impact the Christchurch earthquake and Northern Japan earthquake and tsunami had on visitor arrivals from these source markets in the first quarter of 2011, the decline is unfortunate but not unexpected,” he said. “The test for the Gold Coast tourism industry is how we bounce back from the uncontrollable events of early 2011, and how we combat the record high Australian dollar which is reducing international visitor expenditure in the region.” “One long term strategy which is now delivering results is the diversification of the Gold Coast’s international visitor base, with increased efforts and resources dedicated to non-traditional or emerging source markets such as China and Hong Kong as well as resurgent markets like Korea.” The survey found that international visitor spend was also fell 13% during the quarter to $886 million.Despite the downturn, the destination remains hugely popular with visitors from Asia, with the top four growth markets accounted for by Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong.
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