Southern Great Barrier Reef named Finalists for Excellence in Tourism Awards

The Southern Great Barrier Reef (SGBR), one of Australia’s most ecologically significant and exciting emerging leisure destinations, has been announced as a finalist in “Partner of the Year” category of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Awards for excellence in destination marketing.

The ATEC Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in the Australian tourism export sector, and the new award acknowledges significant destinations who demonstrate international attractiveness, trade investment and readiness, and strong leadership with a focus on ‘hunting in packs’.

These qualities have been at the heart of the Southern Great Barrier Reef since the formation of the pioneering partnership between Regional Tourism Organisations Bundaberg Tourism (BT), Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited (GAPDL), and Capricorn Enterprise (CE) more than a decade ago to grow the region’s domestic and international visitation and reputation as the start of the Great Barrier Reef.

The strategic partnership delivers international marketing activity, business and industry development, mentoring and training for operators, and extensive communication and relationship building with distribution partners worldwide thanks to financial contribution and effort from the RTOs, the region’s tourism operators, and stakeholders. 

Over the past two years alone, the SGBR partnership has:

  • Attended 7 international roadshows and trade events across Australia, New Zealand and Europe, engaging with hundreds of trade partners;
  • Facilitated commercial relationships between trade partners and trade-ready operators, with the region now represented by over 40 major domestic and international distributors;
  • Delivered paid marketing partnerships across Australia and into key international markets including France and Germany;
  • Welcomed 49 trade and media representatives into region;
  • Undertaken PR activity with domestic and international media resulting in millions of dollars of media coverage across the globe;
  • Supported operators through mentoring and training to increase the number of trade-ready operators by 30% since 2018 with, with more training places being offered in 2023/24;
  • Delivered strategic communications with over 1,700 international contacts including training, destination and operator news, and advocacy; and
  • Represented the region on national and state committees.

Katherine Reid, Bundaberg Tourism CEO said, “We are immensely proud to be finalists in ATEC’s Tourism Partner of the Year Award, an accolade that celebrates our unwavering commitment to promoting extraordinary experiences, fostering collaboration, and showcasing the beauty of the Southern Great Barrier Reef destination.

Mary Carroll, Capricorn Enterprise CEO said “The successes of the SGBR destination are a testament to the dedication and passion of our teams across the three RTOs and that of our incredible industry who are the whole reason we exist as organisations and who are in partnership with us every step of the way.”

Nicola Smith, GAPDL CEO said, We are a small and emerging region with limited resources, so we have worked tirelessly to cultivate valuable relationships and to position the SGBR alongside some of the nation’s most recognisable and desirable destinations, of which we are so proud to be shortlisted beside.

“As a key access point and gateway to the SGBR, we take pride in promoting, creating awareness of the protection of, and supporting the sustainable access to the remote and stunning islands and reefs to ensure they remain protected for future generations.”

The ATEC Awards ceremony will take place on November 1 at ATEC’s flagship tourism trade engagement event, Meeting Place, in Adelaide, South Australia, where the winners will be revealed. Finalists alongside the Southern Great Barrier Reef include Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Visit Sunshine Coast, Brisbane Economic Development Agency, South Australia, Go Beyond Melbourne, and Tourism Port Douglas.

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