An international campaign marketing Great Barrier Reef drive holidays has sold almost two and half times more flights into Queensland than anticipated and seen an increase in German visitors booking campervans for travel through Queensland.
The Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) campaign which ran from November 2018 to April 2019 with wholesale trade partners in Germany, showcased the diverse experiences on offer that make the Great Barrier Reef the ultimate road trip.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said more than 600 travel agents were trained and updated on selling Great Barrier Reef holidays as part of the campaign.
“The Great Barrier Reef is our greatest natural tourism asset – we want more people from around the world to experience this icon,” she said.
“This campaign is about bringing more tourists to Queensland to support local jobs and stimulate our economy.
“Increasing visitor expenditure through longer stays and more activities from our traditional international markets is a vital strategy for the government.
“This campaign was about capitalising on the market’s desire to experience multiple destinations in one trip,” Ms Jones said.
Ms Jones said all campaign targets were exceeded, with website visitation to campaign partners Explorer Fernreisen and Boomerang Reisen doubling and almost tripling expectations.
“We saw flights booked to Brisbane and Cairns exceed targets by two and a half times and a double digit percentage increase in campervan hire bookings through one trade wholesale partner.
In an industry first, all seven Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) representing the length of the Great Barrier Reef collaboratively funded and supported the campaign together with TEQ’s European-based team.
“TEQ has already scheduled in phase two of the campaign commencing next month,” Ms Jones said.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close said the campaign positioned the reef as a key Australian leisure destination.
“The campaign showed the diverse Australian experiences that Germans love, including unique wildlife, ancient rainforest, Indigenous culture and the beach lifestyle,” Ms Close said.
“Germans are very sensitive environmentalists therefore it is important to help them understand that the Reef does have challenges but it is very much alive and worth visiting.”
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler believes the campaign is an important piece of marketing activity for destinations along the Great Barrier Reef.
“Germany is a key market for Whitsundays visitation, this campaign partnership has been successful in showcasing to trade and wholesale partners the incredible experiences on offer in the Whitsundays and along the Queensland Coast.”
Mackay Tourism General Manager Tas Webber welcomed the outstanding results from TEQ’s campaign.
“Germans represent the leading source of international visitation into The Mackay Region. These travellers seek out the unspoilt natural attractions that you simply don’t get anywhere else,” Mr Webber said.
“From diving on the Great Barrier Reef, to our very own wallabies on the beach at Cape Hillsborough each sunrise, these are hero experiences that stand out to German tourists and give Queensland a competitive edge in the adventure and ecotourism markets.”
Part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef Regional tourism collaboration, Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll has hailed the campaign a great success.
“Our diversity of exceptional experiences in the best managed reef in the world teamed with our passionate tourism industry and trade relationships have provided the perfect foundation for this collaborative campaign.”
“By working together and showcasing these diverse experiences, we are re-energizing our traditional western markets by offering numerous reasons to visit Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.”
General Manager Bundaberg Tourism Katherine Reid said the collaborative effort enabled RTOs to stretch marketing dollars further and tap directly into markets that couldn’t normally be reached through individual efforts.
“Working closely with TEQ and our Great Barrier Reef partners has given us the opportunity to showcase the diversity of Queensland experiences and deliver destination awareness, conversion to bookings for our industry, and boosting our regional economies,” Ms Reid said.
There were 80,000 visitors from Germany to Queensland in the year ended March 2019, spending $163.9 million. It is classed by TEQ as a ‘grow’ market, forecast to deliver above average growth.