The Glasshouse Mountains welcome our overseas visitors to Australia’s Nature Coast -  Image Chris Van Wyk

The Glasshouse Mountains welcome our overseas visitors to Australia’s Nature Coast –
Image Chris Van Wyk

Australia’s Nature Coast has won the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Richard Power Award for Destination Marketing’, reflecting the success of the innovative marketing project in attracting European and other international visitors to the Sunshine and Fraser Coasts.

The power of the Australia’s Nature Coast (ANC) marketing strategy has seen record growth in European visitation to the region, with the ‘Great Beach Drive’ – launched earlier this year – attracting significant international and domestic interest as well.

And why wouldn’t they want to visit? The region is the only place in the world that has two UNESCO Biospheres side by side, and World Heritage listed Fraser Island and our beautiful national parks.

ANC was launched in 2013 to broaden international market appeal and attract new investment, by leveraging the unique natural assets of the adjoining Sunshine, Cooloola and Fraser Coast tourism regions.

The decision to launch the joint initiative recognised the need for diverse, product-rich natural attractions to compete collaboratively in key international markets.

“Consumers don’t recognise regional barriers, and given our proximity and our joint commitment to nature based tourism, the partnership was an obvious one,” said Sunshine Coast Destination CEO, Simon Ambrose.

“Our strategy targeted the European market in particular because of their specific travel patterns and interests, but the success of marketing initiatives like the ‘Great Beach Drive’ has resonated far wider and we have seen major growth in the Australian, New Zealand and American markets.”

Australia’s Nature Coast has been marketed in major campaigns in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), including participation at international trade shows and in dedicated marketing programs in Germany and the UK.

By focusing on conversion, the key outcome was increased visitation, length of stay, dispersal and visitor expenditure.

Touring itineraries, and active engagement of travel distribution partners served to increase product experiences, build knowledge and commitment, and target industry activities – and convert enquiries into actual bookings.

In the most recent International Visitor Survey (IVS), the Sunshine Coast recorded 10.6% increase in overseas arrivals to June 2015, fuelled largely by growth in the UK (up 23.7%) and Germany (30.6%) – the two markets where ANC is most heavily promoted.

Now in its third year, the ANC project team is led by key representatives from Sunshine Coast Destination Limited (SCDL), Destination Gympie Region, Fraser Coast Opportunities (FCO), Tourism Noosa and the Great Sandy Biosphere.