TourismSouthern Great Barrier Reef hits the world stage

Southern Great Barrier Reef hits the world stage

Southern Great Barrier Reef visitor record Tourism Research Australia
As the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, the Bundaberg Region has partnered with Gladstone and Capricorn regions to promote the destination across the globe. File image.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef has been taken to the world stage with local tourism industry attending a number of trade missions in recent months to grow destination awareness and visitation in key international target markets.

As the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef (SGBR), the Bundaberg Region has partnered with Gladstone and Capricorn regions to promote the destination across the globe.

Representatives from Region Tourism Organisations (RTO) and industry travelled to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and New Zealand, with Tourism and Events Queensland’s ‘Queensland is Calling’ roadshows.

The representatives met with travel buyers, media and retail staff to educate and explore international business opportunities.

Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid said the partners had worked hard for more than a decade to build awareness of the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a destination.

“With international travel recovering with strength, our industry is excited to work collaboratively on this long-term international marketing effort for the region,” Katherine said.

During Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland is Calling roadshow to UK and Europe in December, the SGBR participated in six events across five days, meeting more than 60 key product managers and 90 agents.

In February the group presented in a destination-specific webinar with Swiss travel agent Travelhous, the largest travel organisation in Switzerland with a wide customer base from backpackers to luxury travellers.

The ‘Queensland is Calling’ Roadshow also travelled to New Zealand in February, where the SGBR met with 40 product managers, over 60 retail travel agents and 30 media agents.

New Zealand is the largest international inbound market for Queensland and the SGBR, making up 23% of total international visitation to Queensland.

The roadshow offered a valuable chance to build relationships, create opportunities and increase destination awareness within such a key market.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said she was encouraged by the enthusiasm from long-term tourism trade partners as well as new contacts in key markets globally.

“Travel intenders are looking for new destinations to explore, locations that offer experiences and opportunities to unwind, explore, learn and immerse themselves in,” she said.

Bundaberg Tourism showcase to international media

Bundaberg Tourism travelled to Sydney in February to connect with more than 450 media professionals and international and domestic travel brands at TravMedia’s biggest International Media Marketplace (IMM) Australia to date.

Held across three days, the event included networking, hosted dinners, an immersive conference and engaging one-on-one appointments between destination PR representatives and key journalists, media outlets and content creators from across the world.

As part of Bundaberg Tourism’s major interstate marketing campaign in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council, Marketing Manager Ellie Tonkin and Marketing Coordinator Grace Boothman shared the stories of Bundaberg, Southern Great Barrier Reef’s sustainable tourism initiatives, world-class experiences and the vibrant local characters behind them.

“With our pristine natural surrounds, diverse attractions and warm hospitality, Bundaberg is an ideal canvas for compelling storytelling,” Grace said.

“These captivating stories, paired with our proximity to Brisbane, accessible reef, iconic brands, and affordable offerings, continue to surprise and delight travel writers, ensuring that the Southern Great Barrier Reef is front of mind when pitching and curating content.

“It's through the collaborative efforts and strong relationships created with media at events such as IMM, that the destinations tourism offerings and stories are gaining traction on a global scale.”

Queensland travel PR conference
Queensland representatives at IMM in Sydney. Photo: contributed.

The next trade mission will be the region’s attendance at the Queensland Showcase 2024 in Sydney in March, followed by the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), being held in Melbourne in May.

The ATE is the largest business to business trade event in the Southern hemisphere and almost 20 operators from the Southern Great Barrier Reef will attend to build awareness in the destination’s offerings and driving conversion for future holidays for domestic and international travellers.

The missions have been supported by in-region development programs that ensure the region’s product and visitor experiences are ready for international tourism distribution.

The SGBR has undertaken these missions thanks to funding from Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program, a fund that supports Australian businesses to grow their exports in international markets.

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