Fraser Coast enjoys whale of a season
Hervey Bay’s world famous humpbacks have again provided a huge incentive for visitors, with the region celebrating the end of another highly successful whale season.
Invest Fraser Coast (FCO) along with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and industry stakeholders announced today an 8% rise in numbers, with an overall figure of 53,901 passengers enjoying this iconic experience in 2015.
Invest Fraser Coast interim General Manager, Leigh Bennett, said that the results were fantastic news for both Hervey Bay and the wider Fraser Coast.
“Overall guest numbers increasing by 8% is a strong result for the region, and shows that consumers are seeking the high quality close encounters that Hervey Bay is famous for,’’ Mr Bennett said.
Sue Reid, owner with husband Keith of Freedom Whale Watch and Dive Charters, said that from an industry perspective it had been a positive year for operators with a discernible increase in passengers.
“We have had a strong year, and it is really pleasing that despite other destinations increasing competition, Hervey Bay continues to showcase Australia and the world’s number one whale experiences”, Sue said.
This year’s whale season was supported by the ‘Guaranteed’ marketing campaign which is a partner initiative run by TEQ and FCO, with the support of industry stakeholders.
Fraser Coast Regional Councillor with the Tourism portfolio, Stuart Taylor, said major interest had flowed from the 2015 campaign, in particular from the main targeted area of visitors within a 400km drive radius of the Fraser Coast.
“We are very pleased with the results of the 2015 whale campaign,’’ Cr Taylor said.
“The humpbacks are a key visitor experience, and it is satisfying that we are able to demonstrate tangible results for our local tourism industry”.
Running from late May to early October, the ‘Guaranteed’ campaign utilised television, radio, digital targeting, social media and transit advertising to deliver strong outcomes for the region including media exposure, increased website traffic, and increased numbers on the boats.
Mr Bennett, said unique consumer sessions on visitfrasercoast.com increased by 120% on the year prior, credited to both targeted advertising and the launch of a new destination website at the beginning of 2015.
A dedicated journalist familiarisation campaign also showcased the Fraser Coast’s whale watching experience to key media personnel which brought valuable exposure for the region.
“A total of eight media famils were conducted through the campaign, resulting in coverage by 15 intrastate and 12 interstate titles.
“Publications including News Limited’s ‘Escape’ and Fairfax Media’s ‘Traveller’ have both been a part of sending our message to major metropolitan markets.
“Add in Channel 7’s Sunrise program broadcasting live weather crosses from a whale vessel as well as international documentary maker Greg Grainger shooting a 50 minute feature, and it is clear that the destination has much to be proud of in 2015” Mr Bennett said.
FCO and TEQ warmly thank the industry stakeholders who have partnered with the ‘Guaranteed’ campaign and continue to support initiatives that raise awareness of all there is to see and do on the Fraser Coast.
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