Byron Bay’s visitor economy grew 70% in seven years.

In the past seven years, total visitor numbers to Byron Bay have grown 69%, from around 1.3 mil per year in 2012 to 2.2 mil in 2019. For comparison purposes, Noosa’s total visitor numbers grew 35%, from around 1.7 mil in 2012 to 2.3 million in 2019. New research is now downloadable on Destination Byron’s website, titled ‘Byron Shire Tourism Monitor June 2019’.

Byron Bay hosts 4.3 mil visitor nights per year. Regional comparisons are Tweed – 2.3 mil, Ballina – 1.2 mil, Lismore – 670,000, Coffs Harbour – 3.2 mil, Port Macquarie–Hastings – 2.9 mil and Blue Mountains – 2.2 mil.

In Queensland, the Gold Coast hosts 22.7 mil, Sunshine Coast – 8.9 mil, Cairns – 9.3 mil and Noosa – 4.5 mil visitor nights.

Byron Shire welcomes three main visitor types: ‘Day Visitors’, ‘Domestic Overnight’ and ‘International Overnight’.

‘Day Visitors’ have grown from around 670,000 in 2012 to 1 mil in 2019 – up 48%.

‘Domestic Overnight’ visitors have grown from around 440,000 in 2012 to 1 mil in 2019 – up 127%.

‘International Overnight’ visitors have grown from around 151,000 in 2012 to 225,000 in 2019 – up 49%.

Day visitors

Our attractiveness to the South-East Queensland population is strong. Byron welcomes around 1 mil Day Visitors per year. For comparison purposes, Noosa welcomes around 1.2 mil per year. Growth in Day Visitor numbers is due to the need of our urban neighbours seeking a connection to nature and wanting to experience our diverse culture. Improved road connectivity and to a lesser extent, population growth also contribute to the growth. Residents of SE Qld grew from 3.1 mil in 2012 to 3.5 mil in 2018.

Domestic overnight

Domestic demand is booming. Nights spent by accommodation type are broken down into ‘40% Rented House’, ‘22% Friends or Relatives home’, ‘14% Hotel, Motel or Serviced Apartment’, ‘12% Caravan/Camping’ and ‘12% Backpacker’. Hotel room supply has grown about 25% between 2012 and 2019 (from 1,200 rooms in 2012 to 1,500 rooms in 2019). Annual hotel and serviced apartment occupancies have been stable at around 65-70% during this period. So where is all the surplus demand staying? The answer is ‘Short Term Holiday Rentals’. Annually, about 250,000 visitors stay in Hotels, Motels or Serviced Apartments verse 950,000 people who stay in Short Term Holiday Rentals.

International overnight

Byron welcomes around 200,000 international visitors per annum. Noosa welcomes around 155,000 for comparison. Byron’s share of international visitors to the North Coast Region sits around 62%. Backpackers are thought to make up about 30% of the international market (and 19% for Noosa).

Free Destination Byron Membership

To sign up for a free membership and to receive Destination Byron’s monthly email newsletter go to the website and subscribe. Membership in 2019 is free – thanks to our amazing sponsors like the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. The skills-based volunteer board of Destination Byron greatly appreciate the opportunity to support the industry here in Byron Bay.

Epic Combined Christmas Party

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the ‘Epic Combined Christmas Party’ on Thursday 21st November 2019 at the Byron Bay Brewery. Participating organisations are Destination Byron, Byron Chamber of Commerce, Sourdough Business Pathways, Northern Rivers Community Foundation, Founders Northern Rivers and Byron Youth Service. Book now here.