TOURISM is on the rise in Capricornia, with James and Debbie Gordon joining more than a million people to visit the wonders this region has to offer.

Mrs Gordon, who was travelling to Yeppoon for four nights with her husband from Canberra, said this was the first time hitting the road in their camper trailer.

"Usually when we travel to Queensland we fly up and stay somewhere, this is our first time driving up," she said.

The happy travellers said they picked Capricornia for their first stay in Queensland because it was the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef.

 

James and Debbie Gordon.
James and Debbie Gordon kick-start their Queensland holiday in Capricornia. Aden Stokes

While they are in the region they have their sights set on Great Keppel Island, Capricorn Caves and Koorana Crocodile Farm. They also brought their pushbikes to ride around town and take in the atmosphere.

"We are very much into the natural history of towns, as well as the ecological and environmental side," Mr Gordon said.

"If there is something of interest we will find it and go take a look. I'm excited to see the beaches."

The pair are headed to Cairns next on their great Queensland adventure.

National Visitor Survey data released yesterday showed a record 2,218,000 visitors spent more than $1.16billion in the Southern Great Barrier Reef in the year ended March 2019.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef also saw 711,000 business travellers (up 23.6 per cent) touching down and spending time in the Capricornia, Gladstone and Bundaberg regions.

Jane Bentley shared this image of Great Keppel Island.
Jane Bentley shared this image of Great Keppel Island. Jane Bentley

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll credits the increase in business visitors to not only the expansion of the Central Queensland mining and resource industry and a record production of coal, but also the ongoing strong diverse economy in Rockhampton and the greater CQ footprint including Emerald and Gladstone.

Of the 2.2 million visitors to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Capricornia played host to more than half, welcoming 1.23 million visitors, a 24.6 per cent increase on the previous year.

"Our three-way Southern Great Barrier Reef partnership continues to go from strength to strength and we are so very proud of our industry partners, who work hard seven days a week ensuring our business and holiday visitors have exceptional experiences every day of the year," Ms Carroll said.

"The overall increase to visitors, for business and leisure, is a credit to our committed operators who are consistently providing exceptional service and unique experiences."

Capricorn Caves were awarded Silver in the Tourist Attraction category at 2018 Australian Tourism Awards held in Tasmania over the weekend.
Capricorn Caves were awarded Silver in the Tourist Attraction category at 2018 Australian Tourism Awards held in Tasmania over the weekend. Nathan White Images

From the Keppel Islands to the Central Highlands, the $141 spend per night is reflected in an increase average length of stay to 4.4 nights, with overall expenditure in the Capricorn Region totalling $616 million, up 11.7 per cent.

"Our average length of stay in Capricorn for domestic visitors is showing strong growth at 18.5 per cent increase from the previous year, but we will remain working hard with industry to further increase that average stay," Ms Carroll said.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef region continues to see record levels of visitation with a 9.3 per cent total increase over the past 12 months.

"As one of the steadiest growth areas outside the southern corner, the Capricornia region will continue to see more than $3.5 billion worth of infrastructure projects generating unprecedented opportunities for regional business and local workforce over the next decade," Ms Carroll said.