The state's peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, is highlighting the importance of the tourism industry to regional economies following the release of results of the National Visitor Survey.
"This is a fantastic result, and it confirms that tourism is a key industry for current and future jobs growth for this region and NSW," said NSW Business Chamber Regional Manager, Kellon Beard.
"In terms of visitor numbers, the North Coast is breaking records - and the fact that the North Coast was the 3rd most popular tourist destination in the country is something we can be proud of.
"Nearly 6 million overnight visitors came to the North Coast over the year to March 2019, up more than 8% from the previous year.
"That's extraordinary growth and a contribution of about $3.5 billion to our region. That's a lot of jobs and a lot of business for our restaurants, cafes, hotels and tourism operators.
"As for day trippers, we saw about 7 million of those over the last year, which again, confirms the attractiveness of the North Coast as a premier tourist destination.
"These numbers are a timely reminder as to why it is so important for the government to reboot Restart and ensure regional NSW gets the funds it was promised for infrastructure investment. This investment is critical to supporting regional economies and the continued growth of the tourism industry in this region.
"The visitor economy is thriving, but it's a competitive space. Without continued investment, it won't be possible to maintain the attractiveness of our region for tourists. NSW is an attractive destination for visitors, and today's figures show that North Coast is an attractive place. Let's keep it that way," Mr Beard said.