Tourism, Sport and Leisure
  • Last updated:
  • 12 Dec 2017

The tourism, sport and leisure industry provides almost 14% of total direct employment opportunities and the visitor economy currently injects almost A$2.5 billion of direct expenditure into the region. 

The Sunshine Coast is ranked as one of Australia's top tourism markets, attracting 9.5 million visitors in 2016. The region’s natural assets, from coastal beaches to hinterland forests, coupled with designated tourism investment areas and a range of national standard sporting facilities provide excellent opportunities for new tourism developments and business investments in accommodation, sport and leisure.

The Sunshine Coast also plays host to a number of major sporting events such as the Mooloolaba Triathlon, the 70.3 Ironman Competition, and a range of other sports competitions and events each year.

The Sunshine Coast Lightning netball team, the region's first national league sporting franchise and won the Suncorp Netball series Grand Final in their inaugural season in 2017.

Key tourism, sport and leisure enterprises on the Sunshine Coast include:

  • Over 132 hotel, motel and serviced apartment establishments
  • 10 surf life saving clubs
  • Australia Zoo
  • Abacus
  • Merlin Entertainment
  • Aussie World Theme Park
  • Minor Hotels
  • Melbourne Storm
  • Sunshine Coast Airport
  • Jetts Fitness Head Office
  • Oaks Hotels and Resorts
  • Novotel Twin Waters
  • Mantra Group
  • Sunshine Coast Lightning (National Super Netball Team)
  • Sunshine Coast Turf Club.

Why invest in a tourism, sport and leisure business on the Sunshine Coast?

  • Almost 9.5 million guests visit the wider Sunshine Coast region each year and spend almost A$2.5 billion.
  • The Sunshine Coast is ranked in the top ten of all Australian Tourism Regions for tourism expenditure from 2014-2015 (Tourism Research Australia, 2015), with an increasingly sophisticated market generating demand for new 5-star accommodation options. 
  • More than 150,000 guests travel to the region each year for nationally recognised major events such as the Mooloolaba Triathlon, Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast and the International Rally of Queensland and contribute more than A$100 million to the economy. 
  • The Sunshine Coast Airport provides a direct gateway to the region and will be expanded to accommodate larger, more fuel efficient aircraft from a greater range of locations in Australia, Asia and other international ports. 
  • A highly skilled and educated workforce is ready to work, with hospitality one of the largest employers in the region. 
  • The region has a thriving business events and conference sector with 400 events in 2015-16 which is an annual growth of 7% and a 9.5% growth in delegates (Sunshine Coast Business Events Industry Update March 2017)

To find out more information about the industry, please download the Tourism, Sport and Leisure brochure[1967KB].

To view the strategic direction for each of the seven High-Value Industries, please visit the Industry Investment Plans

Case studies

Australia Zoo[366KB]

Our award-winning Australia Zoo is proud to call the Sunshine Coast home. We have a wonderful local workforce, a strong tourism industry, and are pleased with the Sunshine Coast Council’s vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region - vibrant, green, diverse which complements our passion for wildlife and conservation.

Terri Irwin | Australia Zoo

SEA LIFE Mooloolaba (Merlin Entertainment)[327KB]

The Sunshine Coast offers an exciting future due to its broad appeal to a number of markets. The lifestyle, climate, and friendly communities complement a stunning geographical setting that will continue to attract visitors on increasing scales. It’s with this in mind that Merlin Entertainment has invested  $6.5 million over the past 2 years to refresh and revitalise our interests on the Sunshine Coast, and will continue to invest in the future.

James Thomas | Head of Queensland Attractions and Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium