Tourism, sport and leisure
  • Last updated:
  • 26 Nov 2020

The Sunshine Coast attracted more than 11 million visitors and A$3.3 billion in visitor expenditure in 2018 (TRA, 2019).

Our 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 region hosts major sporting events such as the Mooloolaba Triathlon and the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast and has welcomed many national and international elite sporting teams for training camps, including nine countries leading up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Sunshine Coast Lightning netball team, the region's first national league sporting franchise, won the Suncorp Netball series Grand Final in its inaugural season in 2017 and again in 2018.

Major investments in 2019

  • The Novotel Twin Waters Resort has opened its new A$8 million Convention Centre which caters for up to 1500 delegates and will invest a further A$2 million in upgrades to the resort over the next two years.
  • The Queensland Government has funded the A$9 million redevelopment of USC Stadium, expanding its capacity from 2000 to 3000 seats, and provides new athlete change rooms, a multi-purpose function room and a new sound system.
  • Australia Zoo will begin development of an $8 million expansion to deliver wildlife camping experiences on the Sunshine Coast.

Key tourism, sport and leisure industry particpants

  • 151 hotel, motel and serviced apartments providing more than 6000 rooms

  • 10 surf lifesaving clubs

  • Australia Zoo

  • Merlin Entertainment

  • Aussie World Theme Park

  • Minor Hotels

  • Melbourne Storm

  • Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

  • Sunshine Coast Airport
  • Jetts Fitness Head Office
  • Novotel Twin Waters Resort
  • Mantra Group
  • Sunshine Coast Lightning national netball team
  • Sunshine Coast Turf Club
  • TreeTop Challenge Sunshine Coast
  • The Sports Hub Sunshine Coast

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

  • More than 11 million guests visited the wider Sunshine Coast region in 2018 and spent A$3.3 billion (TRA, 2019).
  • The Sunshine Coast is ranked in the top 10 of all Australian Tourism Regions for tourism expenditure from 2017-2018 (Tourism Research Australia, 2018), with an increasingly sophisticated market generating demand for new 5-star accommodation options. 
  • Around 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 Velothon Sunshine Coast, contributing approximately A$65 million to the economy. 
  • Sport and recreation generates A$442 million per year in economic contribution to the local economy.
  • The Sunshine Coast Airport provides a direct gateway to the region and is being expanded to accommodate aircraft from a greater range of locations in Australia, Asia and other international airports. 
  • 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 310 events in 2017-2018, an annual growth of 4.4% in delegate days and a 16.8% growth in average length of stay (Queensland Business Events Survey Results, 2018).
  • Sunshine Coast Council can provide a full support service to manage all aspects of sports training requirements, including negotiating access to training venues, transport, accommodation, support and communications, and connections to our world famous tourist attractions.

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

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