Hervey Bay Whale Watch - (L) Josh and Sam Peaker and Quick Cat II in the background.Photo: Alistair Brightman
Hervey Bay Whale Watch - (L) Josh and Sam Peaker and Quick Cat II in the background.Photo: Alistair Brightman

GOOD TO GO: Mega tourism campaign makes splash on Coast

THE time is now for Queenslanders to explore their own backyard.

That was the message from Fraser Coast tourism boss, Martin Simons.

Speaking to the Chronicle after the launch of the State Government's Queensland - Good to Go advertising campaign, Mr Simons said tourism within the state would be a lifeline for the industry.

"We're on a winner with the drive market," the Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager said.

"Three quarters of the market lives just below us."

The marketing campaign will put the Fraser Coast, along with other Queensland regions, front and centre on social media, television, print and radio.

It is aimed at encouraging Queenslanders to holiday within the state as borders remain closed and is projected to deliver a $1 billion boost in overnight accommodation bookings throughout the state.

Tourism minister Kate Jones said the campaign was aimed at making sure tourism operators survived the COVID-19 shutdown and border closure.

"We know that Queenslanders spend up to $10 billion a year interstate and overseas," Ms Jones said.

"We want people to spend as much of that as possible on the Fraser Coast."

Mr Simons said FCTE had launched its own, separate marketing campaign targeting the drive market.

"It'll be a very extensive marketing campaign," he said.

"We've locked up media early so no one else can buy those spots."

Martin Simons (g/mgr. Fraser Coast Tourism & Events) at the Tourist Information Centre.Photo: Alistair Brightman
Martin Simons (g/mgr. Fraser Coast Tourism & Events) at the Tourist Information Centre.Photo: Alistair Brightman

He said the reintroduction of Qantas flights, coupled with the drive market campaign, would attract visitors to the region after a challenging period.

"By the time the holidays come around most attractions will be functioning but there's still social distancing," he said.

"It's been tough, people haven't been spending a lot of money.

"By and large, it's been a very resilient industry."

The Good to Go campaign is positive news for Hervey Bay's whale watching fleet.

There had been fears the season would suffer due to travel restrictions and social distancing requirements.

Sam Peaker, skipper for Hervey Bay Whale Watch, said the campaign could help redirect travel plans closer to home.

"I think a lot of people that would usually be holidaying interstate or overseas are still going to be looking for ways to have those experiences," Mr Peaker said.

"I have a feeling they'll be out and about but it'll be a slower approach."

Mr Peaker said about 60,000 people usually came through Hervey Bay for whale watching season.

He said the drive market, especially visitors from Brisbane, was historically an important part of the customer base.

A major challenge for the Bay's whale watching operators, he said, was competing with other east coast providers.

"Although Hervey Bay is renowned as the whale watching capital of the world, we're also fighting with competition on the east coast," Mr Peaker said.

"Now that we're all fighting for that same market, it could prove difficult."

As Mr Simons pointed out, the whale watching boats were not the only attraction worth promoting.

He said the advertising campaign would heavily feature Fraser Island and Maryborough.

"There's lots of things to sell in this part of the world," Mr Simons said.


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