Connecting with the Gold Coast tourism industry, enhancing local outcomes
The Gold Coast is Australia’s premier tourist destination—renowned for its surf, sand and sunshine. Tourism is the backbone of the local economy and is at the heart of planning, policy making and city branding.
The City of Gold Coast, Gold Coast Tourism and Griffith Institute for Tourism meet quarterly to discuss tourism relevant issues, challenges and opportunities. Recently Study Gold Coast has joined the group, reflecting the importance of the educational market for the City.
Business innovation to adapt to new markets
The Experience Gold Coast project involved researchers from GIFT working closely with five Gold Coast tourism businesses, which targeted younger visitors to enhance the experiences they offered. Professor Noel Scott, Dr Sarah Gardiner and Ms Joan Carlini worked with operators to identify opportunities to meet changing visitor needs, especially the experiences required by tourists from growing Asian markets. The findings led to changes in the tourist offering to address cultural differences in attitudes to water and beach activities, as well as in-destination promotion. The researchers worked with one of the businesses, Get Wet Surf School, to win the Queensland Tourism Industry Council 2015 Prize for Innovation.
Working with the Gold Coast Adventure Travel Group
The Gold Coast is well-positioned to capitalise on this growth. Recognising the potential of this market, in 2002 Dr Sarah Gardiner began working with the Gold Coast Adventure Travel Group to grow youth visitation to the Gold Coast. Since then, international backpacker numbers to the Gold Coast have increased by 55 per cent and youth visitors now represent over one-third of all international visitors to the Gold Coast.