The Fraser Coast continues to strengthen its position as a must-see destination for international visitors with arrivals growing at almost twice the Queensland average, a national survey has found.
Figures released in the latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) show the Fraser Coast enjoying double digit growth in international visitors with a 14.1% increase in overseas arrivals for the year ending June 2015.
The increase easily outstrips the Australian average growth of 6.6% and the Queensland average of 7.7% for the same period.
On the back of strong marketing campaigns highlighting the region’s unique nature-based experiences, holiday visitors grew 12.9% to 127,000, again outpacing the state and national averages.
Invest Fraser Coast (FCO) board member Greig Bolderrow said significant gains came from the UK market where arrivals increased 13.8% to 36,000 people, and greater Europe which rose 15.6% to 68,000 including an impressive 30.5% rise in German visitors.
The money is also flowing when they arrive, with direct expenditure for the Fraser Coast increasing by 21% to $46.8 million, well ahead of the Queensland average of 14.8% and the Australian average of 11.3%.
“It’s pleasing for the region that market share for both visitation and expenditure is growing against the state and national averages, especially in the UK and European markets which we currently target,’’ Mr Bolderrow said.
Fraser Coast Regional Councillor with the tourism portfolio, Stuart Taylor, said the results were great news for the region.
“More international visitors spending more money in our region is an excellent outcome, spreading positive benefits throughout the entire Fraser Coast economy,’’ he said.
“It is a credit to the standard of tourism operators in the region who always strive to deliver a world-class product,’’ he said.
FCO’s Interim General Manager Leigh Bennett said the strong growth figures meant the region had good programs in place leading it in the right direction.
“With the work going in to the Australia’s Nature Coast program, it’s pleasing to see the growth in Europe and the UK – two of our targeted areas,’’ he said.
“This is set to continue with the recently announced contestable funding grant for this program.
“FCO also continues to seek further funding grants to build operator capacity such as international ready programs,” Mr Bennett said.
Invest Fraser Coast (FCO) announced today it had been awarded contestable funding of $140,000 to continue the Australia’s Nature Coast (ANC) initiative.
Awarded this week as part of Tourism and Events Queensland’s ‘Contestable Grants Funding Scheme’, the grant is part of a total of $275,000 in funding for ANC – a joint partnership between the Fraser and Sunshine Coast destination bodies.
Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Stuart Taylor said the funding was for the 2015/2016 financial year.
“We are delighted to have been awarded contestable funding to continue promoting this world class eco destination to international visitors.’’
“The campaign is aimed at the UK, German and other European markets with some expansion into New Zealand. We are very lucky that with the ANC we are able to combine accessibility with a naturally abundant and fun destination that includes iconic landscapes, beaches, whales, and many of the drawcard experiences that our target markets are looking for,” Cr Taylor said.
Spanning the Fraser and Sunshine Coasts, Australia’s Nature Coast offers unbeatable natural experiences in some of the world’s most diverse and pristine environments. It includes 47 state and national parks, reserves, rainforests, wetlands and more than 200km of beach.
In the past year, ANC has been showcased at Australia’s largest trade exhibitions including the Australian Tourism Exchange and Corroboree, and for the first time engaged its own road show across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
The contestable funding for the ANC initiative has shortly followed positive results for the region in the recent international visitor statistics for the year ending March 2015, with Fraser Coast visitors up 13% to 134,000 driven by a 17.8% increase in European visitation.
Tas Webber, FCO’s Manager of Tourism and Events said Australia’s Nature Coast brought together the only two adjoining biospheres in the world, the Noosa Biosphere and the Great Sandy Biosphere in addition to the iconic Fraser Island, Lady Elliot Island and the southern Great Barrier Reef.
“A key focus will be highlighting our hero experiences such as the Great Beach Drive from Hervey Bay through Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach before ending in Noosa,’’ Mr Webber said.
Head to www.australiasnaturecoast.com for further information on the partnership.
The star power of Hervey Bay’s famous humpback whales has proven impossible to resist for one of Australia’s most distinguished wildlife documentary makers who will showcase the gentle giants to a global audience in a new film.
Invest Fraser Coast (FCO) and Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) in partnership with Tasman Venture, announced today that award winning producer and presenter Greg Grainger had been secured to make a 50 minute documentary on the humpbacks of Hervey Bay.
FCO General Manager Leigh Bennett said the documentary entitled Smarter Than Your Average Whale would be based around the conservation efforts of ‘whale whisperer’ Vicki Neville, a marine biologist working for local whale watch operator Tasman Venture.
The film will also feature Wally Franklin from the Oceania Project, who has researched the Hervey Bay humpback whales for more than 25 years.
“We are very excited to be announcing details of this documentary project which is a major coup for the region,’’ Mr Bennett said.
“Uniting the skills of a documentary maker of the calibre of Greg Grainger, our own highly-regarded local experts and of course our incredible humpbacks will be an amazing opportunity to enhance the Fraser Coast’s reputation as the premier place in the world to view whales,’’ he said.
Greg Grainger said the documentary would focus on the interaction, emotion, intelligence and behavioural patterns of whales – showcasing why they are amongst the most intelligent and loved mammals alive.
“Humpback whales are awesome. I have swum with them and filmed them many times in my career, and I am always blown away. I have eyed them from only a metre away and felt that there was a real rapport with a highly intelligent animal seeking to communicate back with me, which is exactly what I am looking to showcase with this film” said Mr Grainger.
The documentary will be filmed aboard the Tasman Venture and will be shot in 4K cinematic quality by a crew of four professional camera operators. Additional to whale-watching footage captured aboard Tasman Venture – and in some cases by their own high quality equipment – team member Vicky Neville will also feature in the film, interacting with the Hervey Bay humpbacks.
For Vicki, a marine biologist and passionate anti-whaling campaigner, the project is a powerful way of promoting whale conservation.
“Showing the beauty and power of these precious creatures to an international audience will not only benefit our region but increase awareness and public pressure to save the whales because their future is in our hands,’’ Ms Neville said.
TEQ CEO Leanne Coddington, said securing such a respected documentary filmmaker to focus on Hervey Bay whales would provide international exposure for the destination and its visitor experiences.
“This initiative forms part of a current marketing effort to promote the destination, home to some of nature’s biggest outdoor visitor experiences such as rainforests and lakes on the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, boating and fishing in the Great Sandy Strait,” Ms Coddington said.
Greg Grainger is an award-winning producer and presenter of topical travel and adventure documentaries, and wildlife programs, to remote and exotic locations.
His highly acclaimed adventures have captured on film activities as diverse as sky burials in Tibet to shark riding in Tahiti, expeditions across the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as along the Andes and Himalaya.
A winner of the prestigious Logie Award for Top News Report, Greg has worked for leading radio and television stations in Britain and Australia for the past 35 years.
Greg’s documentaries have been seen by tens of millions of viewers, from National Geographic and Discovery Channels to Channels Seven, Nine, Ten and the ABC in Australia.
Hervey Bay is not a typical “day trip” experience but an opportunity to gain an interactive, up close and personal experience with whales, while tying in other world-class eco-experiences such as World Heritage listed Fraser Island and the UNESCO recognised Great Sandy Biosphere.
Hervey Bay is unique as far as whale watching is concerned. It is the only place of its kind in the world where migrating whales stay up to ten days in the pristine waters between the mainland and Fraser Island. They interact, rest and learn in the Great Sandy Biosphere – the perfectly protected marine playground for mothers and their calves.
The Hervey Bay whale watch season is from July to November each year. To book your adventure to the ‘whale watch capital of the world’, head to whalesherveybay.com.au.
International visitors to the Fraser Coast increased by 13% for the year ending March 2015 according to research released yesterday by Tourism Research Australia.
The figures released in the quarterly International Visitor Survey also show the Fraser Coast to have eclipsed overall Queensland visitation growth which came in at a 7.7% increase.
The significant increase equated to a total of 134,000 international visitors with key markets driving the increase being Europe (up 17.8% and driven by German holiday makers) and North America (up 21.7%).
Fraser Coast Regional Councillor with the Tourism portfolio, Stuart Taylor, said the results were great news for the tourism industry and the region as a whole.
‘Visitor expenditure has risen by 22.2% translating to a total of $46.4million in direct visitor expenditure. This is a great result for our region, it means people know about our world class product and location’, said Cr Taylor.
Manager of Tourism and Events for Invest Fraser Coast, Tas Webber, said recording strong tourism growth in the region means we have good campaigns in place and are heading in the right direction.
‘Our hero natural experiences in the region such as Fraser Island, the humpback whales and the Great Sandy Strait are all fantastic drawcards. People come from all over the world to see what we have on the Fraser Coast.’
For more information on the International Visitor Survey, head to tra.gov.au.
Saturday’s 9th annual Paddle Out for Whales saw approximately 1,500 swimmers, paddlers and spectators support conservation for whales, with video footage subsequently being reported by the United Kingdom’s BBC.
The video included Paddle Out footage from the day, Hervey Bay whale watching encounters, and original organiser and whale expert Vicky Neville. The footage described the importance of the Fraser Coast to humpback whales and why it is the ‘whale watching capital of the world’.
The Fraser Coast turned on the weather for the event, reaching a balmy 24 degrees following the cold snap last week. An estimated 1,500 people turned up to listen to industry experts, enjoy kid’s activities and build sand castles. Contributing to the crowd was Coast Restaurant and Bar’s annual pop-up pier party on Scarness pier.
Host of Paddle Out for Whales and previous Australian Operations Manager for the Pacific Whale Foundation Andrew Ellis, said it was a very successful day with an estimated 350-450 people paddling out into the water for the minute silence.
‘Being in the whale watch capital of the world, Hervey Bay, the conservation of whales means so much to Fraser Coast locals and operators. It is great to see the community support Paddle Out for Whales every year, it really shows our support for their wellbeing around the world’, said Andrew.
Invest Fraser Coast would like to thank the Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, local Police and Volunteer Marine Rescue for ensuring a safe event for all those who participated.
Next on the agenda for the Hervey Bay Whale Festival is the Whale Concert and Illumination Parade on October 17th, for all the information head to whalesherveybay.com.au.
To watch the video on BBC, head to Invest Fraser Coast Facebook page.
July 29 celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Virgin Australia flights between the Fraser Coast and Sydney.
To mark the anniversary, Invest Fraser Coast (FCO) has partnered with Virgin Australia to celebrate with the ‘Nature’s Ultimate Escape’ prize competition, which is being hosted until 31st July.
With an impressive prize package for two people, FCO would like to thank partnering operators Allegra Grand Mercure Apartments, Freedom Whale Watch, Fraser Explorer Tours and of course Virgin Australia, for contributing to the ‘Nature’s Ultimate Escape’ competition.
Mayor Gerard O’Connell said it is a significant milestone for the relationship between the Fraser Coast and Virgin Australia.
‘The opening of the airport 10 years ago was a great opportunity for the Fraser Coast to tap into the Sydney market. With a daily flight from Sydney, we now see business people, friends, relatives and tourists making the most of this service’, said Cr O’Connell.
Do you remember where you were in 2005? Let us give you a flashback:
- New South Wales won the State of Origin for the first time before their losing streak of 8 years
- John Howard was Prime Minister and Peter Beatie was the premier of Queensland
- Madonna was still winning ARIA awards
- A-League national soccer league began its first season in Australia
- The Sydney Swans and West Tigers took out premierships
- Makybe Diva wins Melbourne cup for 3rd year running
- People were all about their Myspace accounts and social media was in the midst of a revolution with Facebook starting the year prior and Twitter still a year away
- The ‘selfie’ was not a daily ritual
- Socceroos qualify for 2006 FIFA World Cup for first time since 1974
For more information and to enter this exciting initiative, head to whalesherveybay.com.au.
With the Hervey Bay whale watch season and festival officially starting this weekend, the marketing campaign to attract holiday makers to the Fraser Coast is in full swing.
In conjunction with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), the ‘Guaranteed’ campaign is aimed at showcasing the region’s superior quality experiences, and directs consumers to whalesherveybay.com.au where they can get special deals on whale watching tours, accommodation, restaurants and more.
Bobbie Hayter from Spirit of Hervey Bay said the campaign was so important for the region because it places the Fraser Coast on the map.
‘Without the campaign, it is so difficult for each individual business to reach outside the Fraser Coast and convince people our region is the best place to visit and see the majestic humpbacks. Whale watching is incredibly important for the Fraser Coast economy and the entire tourism industry’, said Bobbie.
Buses, trains, television and radio are all mediums that are being utilised across south east Queensland during the season, using the ‘guaranteed’ stamp to showcase soul-stirring encounters with whales as well as all the other amazing locations and experiences the Fraser Coast has to offer.
Complementing the physical advertising elements of the campaign, digital mediums such as Facebook, Google ads and digital advertising will also be used.
Fraser Coast Regional Councillor with the Tourism Portfolio, Stuart Taylor, said the campaign makes up an important piece of the annual calendar for tourism marketing campaigns.
‘As always, this is about attracting people to the region with the message that Hervey Bay is the best place in the world to watch the whales play. Also adding to that in 2015, the message will showcase all of the regional highlights and entice holiday makers to stay longer’, said Cr Taylor.
The whale season includes the annual Whale Festival with three main events – Blessing of the Fleet, Paddle Out for Whales and the Illumination Parade and Concert.
The festival starts with Blessing of the Fleet at Urangan Boat Harbour on Saturday July 18. The celebration starts at 4pm and is free entry.
For more information on the 2015 whale season and the ‘Guaranteed’ campaign head to whalesherveybay.com.au.