Tourism and Recreation Values of the Daintree and Fraser Island - Executive Summary

This report provides an estimate of the Total Economic Value of the Daintree and Fraser Island including:

  • the direct financial value attributable to tourism and recreation in each region;
  • the additional financial value generated in adjacent regions from visiting the two areas;
  • the indirect multiplier effects throughout the regional economy; and
  • the economic values that each area holds.

The findings of this report are largely based on previously established studies, in addition to visitor survey statistics compiled for the Douglas Shire and Fraser Coast regions. Extrapolations and assumptions have been made to calculate the direct expenditure specifically in the Daintree and on Fraser Island, as well as to calculate the impact of tourism and recreation on the regional economy.

The Daintree study region includes the portion of the Daintree National Park north of the Daintree River to Cape Tribulation, while the study area of south-east Queensland encompasses the whole of Fraser Island.

An estimated 796,000 visitors and 1.7 million visitor days are spent in the two regions in total. This comprises 436,000 visitors and 802,000 visitor days spent in the Daintree region and 360,000 visitors and 876,000 visitor days spent on Fraser Island.

The Daintree

The Daintree receives approximately 306,000 day-visitors per annum, representing 70% of all visitors. The remaining 130,000 visitors (30%) are overnight visitors staying approximately 497,000 visitor days or 3.8 days on average.

An estimated 95% of all overnight visitors to the Daintree stay in commercial accommodation, spending 472,000 visitor days in the area. Campers spend approximately 19,000 visitor days in the area per annum.

Additionally, 70% of visitors enter the Daintree as Free and Independent Travellers (FITís), while 30% of visitors are passengers of Commercial Tour Operators (CTOís). It is also estimated that visitation to the Daintree is split fairly evenly between international and domestic visitors, although the majority of domestic visitors are from interstate.

We have found that the Direct Financial Value from tourism and recreation in the Daintree region presently totals $141.7 million per annum. We have also calculated that the Additional Financial Value from spending elsewhere within the Far North Queensland region in the process of visiting the Daintree is in the vicinity of $91 million.

Regional multiplier effects are likely to be in the order of $162.9 million, creating a Total Direct and Indirect Financial Value from tourism and recreation within the Daintree of $395.6 million.

Upward of 3,489 jobs are generated in the Far North Queensland region from tourism and recreation in the Daintree.

The Economic Value (consumersí surplus) associated with protection of the area in 1999 was estimated to be approximately $4.4 million. The Total Economic Value of tourism and recreation in the Daintree is therefore stated to be in the order of $400 million.

It is noted that this valuation is not inconsistent with previous assessments (notably the updated Daintree Planning Package in 1998) representing an increase of only 20%.

Fraser Island

The majority of visitors to Fraser Island are overnight visitors, with approximately 223,000 visitors (62%) staying 736,000 visitor days or 3.3 days on average. An additional 137,000 visitors are day visitors. In total visitors spend an estimated 873,000 visitor days on the Island.

Visitors to Fraser Island are split evenly between FITís (49%) and visitors of CTOís (51%). Slightly more overnight visitors to the Island are camperís (53%) spending 390,000 visitor days compared to those visitors spending 346,000 visitor days in commercial rooms.

It is estimate that some 40% of visitors to Fraser Island are international visitors with the majority of the remainder being intrastate visitors from elsewhere in south-east Queensland.

The Direct Financial Value of tourism and recreation on Fraser Island was found to be $116.7 million. Additional Financial Value generated within the Fraser and Sunshine Coast regions in the process of visiting the Island is estimated to be $39.3 million.

Regional multiplier effects have been calculated in the order of $109.22 million, creating a Total Direct and Indirect Financial Value from tourism and recreation on Fraser Island of $265.25 million

Up to 2,880 jobs are generated in the Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast regions from tourism and recreation on Fraser Island.

The consumersí surplus associated with visiting Fraser Island was calculated to be between $15.70 to $32.63 per visit in 1990. Indicative Economic Value associated with the Islands use as a tourism and recreation destination, at current visitation levels is between $5.6 and $11.7 million.

The Total Economic Value of Fraser Island, incorporating its Economic Value and Direct and Indirect Financial Value from tourism and recreation, is therefore estimated to be in the order of $277 million.