The East Coast’s tourism treasure-chest of a 12 per cent increase in visitors over the year has been warmly welcomed by tourism organisations, but there are fresh challenges facing the industry.
Severe accommodation shortages and working with long-term residents are key issues the region faces.
Tourism Industry Council chief executive Luke Martin said capacity was a challenge going forward.
“You look at the accommodation occupancy over summer … there’s obviously a lot of people camping, and a lot of day trips,” he said.
East Coast Tourism chief executive Ruth Dowty said the increase in visitors from 331,700 to 372,900 over the year was an “amazing” boost to the region.
She said industry discussions focused on creating suitable accommodation for the region going forward.
“We have been working closely with the state government through the coordinator general’s office to look at this issue and understand what the capacity needs are moving forward,” she said.
Ms Dowty said a key focus was developing off-season attractions to help smooth out visitor numbers away from the peak summer season, pointing to places such as Maria Island who could host more visitor numbers all year round.
A state government spokesperson said the increase in visitor numbers was generating extra income and jobs for the East Coast.
“Given demand, the opportunity is there for more tourism accommodation providers to enter the market and that is something we would welcome,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the state government was also working with the federal government to create a regional tourism infrastructure strategy for the region.