It's still destination Port Stephens as tourist flock to area

GROWTH: Destination Port Stephens CEO Eileen Gilliland says an increase in visitor numbers is a result of targeted digital marketing campaigns.
GROWTH: Destination Port Stephens CEO Eileen Gilliland says an increase in visitor numbers is a result of targeted digital marketing campaigns.

Digital marketing campaigns have been a major contributor to the growth in domestic tourism, according to Destination Port Stephens CEO Eileen Gilliland.

"We have targeted our marketing towards digital channels such as Facebook, Instagram and our website, which allows us to build audiences and then re-target our campaigns by increasing content," said Ms Gilliland,

Ms Gilliland was responding to new figures revealing that Port Stephens continues to grow as a tourist destination, experiencing a seven per cent growth in the number of visitors and 17 per cent surge in the length of stays over a 12-month period.

Nelson Bay during the summer time.

Nelson Bay during the summer time.

According to the National Visitor Survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia, Port Stephens welcomed 805,000 overnight visitors who stayed almost 2.6 million nights between March 2018 and March 2019. The total number of domestic visitor nights was a staggering 2,599,000.

Ms Gilliland said there were other contributing factors, including the redevelopment of venues Bannisters and Shoal Bay Country Club, the area's ability to attract major events around surfing, sailing and seafood and the great weather.

"One of the key areas of growth is interstate visitor nights which increased by 40 per cent - mainly from Victoria," Ms Gilliland added.

"We know that the average overnight visitor spends $205 per night in Port Stephens, so even a small increase in visitor nights has a significant effect on the local economy. We are still waiting on data for visitor spend but based on our current trend the increase in domestic visitor nights would have injected more than $70 million into the Port Stephens economy.

"This trickles down from our cafes and restaurants, hotels and tour operators through to the wider Port Stephens economy."

Ms Gilliland said that DPS was working in partnership with a number of Port businesses to invest in a major marketing strategy to increase shoulder and low season visitation. "This new brand will work to even out the seasonal fluctuations and increase economic benefits."

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