Southern Great Barrier Reef gaining overseas momentum

We are fortunate that there are so many beautiful clean, green and safe destinations in Australia for our overseas visitors to enjoy a whole range of experiences –  but it all makes for very strong competition!

However, our point of difference is that we not only have the Southern Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep, but the diversity of our experiences ranging from reef to rainforest, from caves to outback, from coastal villages to cities, from sandstone gorges to sapphire gemfields which offer an all Australian experience and we are right on the eastern drive touring route of particularly the western markets of UK/Europe, Canada/US, NZ.

So why aren’t they ALL stopping in our region instead of an overnight stay or driving through I hear you ask?

Simple; the ‘typical’ 14 day Sydney to Cairns trek by car by our foreign friends has always included the more established destinations and world heritage icons like Fraser Coast, Whitsundays, Tropical North Queensland, so our ability to compete has been tough.  To be included in the self-drive itineraries by overseas wholesalers, we first needed to have contracted tourism product so they have an incentive to sell our destination (i.e. earn a sales commission) for their clients to stop in our many locations, particularly those ‘off the beaten track’, like  Yeppoon/Capricorn Coast, Town of 1770/Agnes Water, Bargara.

If they include a two night stay in our destination (whether it be on the Coast, the Islands, Rocky), two nights from another destination along the east coast route has to be replaced, so our products and experiences need to be worth changing entire east coast itineraries for!  The good news is, we are achieving this slowly but surely.

This is why we have focused so heavily over the past few years on providing ‘Tourism Trade Mentoring’ to our operators which is intense one on one training in how to contract in the tourism trade distribution system. Funding for this program has been thanks to the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) via the State government’s Department of Innovation, Tourism and Industry Development (DITID).

We have grown from about 5 contracted operators nearly ten years ago to 65 contracted operators across the Southern Great Barrier Reef and we have been consistent in our approach to targeting the western market.

As a result, we have seen steady growth from particularly Germany, France and the Nordic region over the past few years and the momentum is building, with this year’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) a noticeable leap forward!

This is thanks to the proactive promotion of the Southern Great Barrier Reef destination and our tourism operators within it who are contracted with key wholesalers and inbound tour operators.

By collaborating our limited resources, the three regional tourism organisations in Capricorn, Gladstone/1770 and Bundaberg, with Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia and our Trade partners, we are represented in more overseas packages and publications each year.

By focusing only on our western markets, this has also received incredible support from wholesalers as their clients absolutely love and respect our natural assets right across the Southern Great Barrier Reef destination.

During the 2019/2020 year and with 2020/2021 ‘brochuring’ (i.e. contracts/itineraries) currently underway, overseas wholesalers from France, Germany, Switzerland and Holland to name a few are now including not one, but multiple self drive itineraries and packages including the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

Here are just a few examples:

AUSTRALIE TOURS (France) 19/20 Brochure  

12 Days (Queensland against the Tide) Cairns to Brisbane (includes Agnes Water, Yeppoon/Capricorn Coast Great Keppel Island) – p. 87

10 Day Hervey Bay to Capricorn Coast (Hervey Bay, Bargara, Agnes Water/Town of 1770, Yeppoon, Great Keppel Island, Rockhampton) – p. 91 package includes tours/accommodation at Capricorn Caves and Great Keppel Island.

19 day Brisbane to Cairns (includes Heron Island, Rockhampton)

p. 92 80 (mentions Yeppoon/Pumpkin Island)

p. 97 Heron Island/Lady Elliot Island

TRAVEL TREND (Holland) 19/20 Brochure packages 

17 Days East Coast (Kids go Down Under) tour includes Myella Farm Stay and Great Keppel Island Hideaway.

TTS Voyage Plan (Switzerland) 19/20 Brochure packages

12 Days Brisbane to Cairns, including Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Yeppoon

FTI Touristik (Germany)

Includes half page feature on Great Keppel Island Hideaway

BOOMERANG REISEN (Germany) 25th Anniversary publication

Includes full page feature on Southern Great Barrier Reef Islands (Pumpkin, Great Keppel, Heron, Lady Musgrave, Lady Elliot Islands)


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