Tourists spend $1b in Gladstone region as industry boom looms

OUR region is celebrating the success of a new industry worth more than $1 billion.

The team behind a digital marketing campaign for the Southern Great Barrier Reef won bronze at the recent 2016 Queensland Tourism Awards.

Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited helped run the campaign last year to boost visitor numbers to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. And it worked, with almost two million visitors choosing to holiday within the SGBR.

GAPDL chief executive Darryl Branthwaite said the campaign helped change the perception of Gladstone being an industry city.

"I believe our region is punching well above our weight," he said.

"With Gladstone, what's important is changing the perceptions people have.

"That's what our cruise industry is doing, we're showing people we're not just an industry town.

"There's another industry developing in Gladstone and it's tourism."

CRUISE READY: The latest installment of Gladstone's cruise visits has reaffirmed the city's tourism potential.
CRUISE READY: The latest installment of Gladstone's cruise visits has reaffirmed the city's tourism potential.

Mr Branthwaite said the campaign, Where Great Begins, was headed by the GAPDL, Capricorn Enterprise and Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism.

Since the year-long promotion there has been an increase in visitors to the SGBR region.

In 2015-16 there were 1,837,000 domestic overnight visitors and 136,000 international visitors.

The domestic visitors spent $932 million and visitors from overseas forked out $90.7 million.

Lady Musgrave Island.  Photo: Mark Mergard, '1770 Reef'
Lady Musgrave Island. Photo: Mark Mergard, '1770 Reef'

The campaign included complementary marketing activities, SGBR digital "Always on" awareness, sandstone stories campaign and the P and O Cruise attraction visits, among other awareness strategies.

Mr Branthwaite said it was a privilege to represent the Gladstone region at the awards.

"Before the awards started we saw Feast on East displayed on the big screen which was fantastic," he said. "Even though it wasn't successful in the event category, it obviously meant something to them... "

Lagoons 1770 Resort & Spa at Agnes Water and Gladstone Mercure entered.

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