Arrival of the Pacific Dawn, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Photo Helen Spelitis / Gladstone Observer
Arrival of the Pacific Dawn, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Photo Helen Spelitis / Gladstone Observer Helen Spelitis

'Embarrasingly good': $90m blitz to lure tourists to Gladstone

GLADSTONE is set for a "good couple of years" on the tourism front after the Queensland Government announced a three year $90 million tourism advertising blitz.

Departing from the usual tourism campaign flops which have generally relied on controversial catch phrases or the pulling power of big celebrities, the latest campaign is instead focused on the personal stories of local tourism operators.

>>High-level talks with tourism bosses to lure overseas visitors

Managing director of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort Peter Gash, which is located on the Southern Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Baffle Creek, will feature in the campaign and said Gladstone was likely to benefit from all of the extra attention.

"Both Gladstone and the Bundaberg regions are in a good position because they've got a great product and they're all driving the Southern Great Barrier Reef well," Mr Gash said.

"The location is good because it's not far from the capital areas and personally I think the whole Gladstone region is in for a good couple of years and that everyone along the Capricornia coast will see improvement."

NEW CAMPAIGN: Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort will feature in new state tourism campaign which focuses on local tourism operators.
NEW CAMPAIGN: Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort will feature in new state tourism campaign which focuses on local tourism operators. Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

State Government figures revealed that 22.5 million people visited Queensland last year and spent $20 billion.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the tourism industry already supported 220,000 jobs in Queensland but that an extra 20,000 jobs would be needed by 2020.

"We want Queensland to be Australia's number one destination and this campaign is about inspiring consumers to come and experience what's on offer," she said.

This latest push would likely complement the hard work done by Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited and the council to bring cruise ships to Gladstone, while also helping to capitalise on the deceptively lucrative grey nomad market.

Gladstone Area Promotion Development Ltd tourism manager Karen Sweeney and Mercure Hotel Gladstone general manager Craig Conley will be promoting the Gladstone region at a Southern Great Barrier Reef Sydney Trade Mission.
Gladstone Area Promotion Development Ltd tourism manager Karen Sweeney and Mercure Hotel Gladstone general manager Craig Conley will be promoting the Gladstone region at a Southern Great Barrier Reef Sydney Trade Mission. Paul Braven GLA151116VISIT

Mr Gash said the beauty of the latest campaign was that it didn't just "highlight" one or two reasons to lure tourists to Queensland.

"It's great that there's some energy being driven into the Southern Great Barrier Reef but more importantly, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and if we raise Queensland's profile then more of us will benefit," Mr Gash said.

"We're in an embarrassingly good position occupancy wise so our motivation was that we felt like we were contributing to the greater good.

"If they can't get in with us then they'll go to Heron Island or the Whitsundays... the rising tide lifts all boats."

Mr Gash said Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort's occupancy rate was consistently in the mid-nineties and even if he wanted to, the resort couldn't really take too many more guests.

But Mr Gash said tourism in Queensland was like a mosaic where every tiny tile was a story that helped to make up the "amazing picture".

"In the crown everyone talks about the big gem but you need the guy with the hotel, the servo, those smaller diamonds to complete the picture."


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