Australia's Nature Coast comes out on top
  • Monday 16 November 2015
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Australia’s Nature Coast has won the Queensland Tourism Award for best Destination Marketing, reflecting the success of the innovative marketing project in attracting European and other international visitors to the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast.

The Richard Power Award for Destination Marketing was announced at the Queensland Tourism Awards in Brisbane at the weekend.

Other Sunshine Coast winners included Bindi Irwin for the Young Achievers Award and Australia Zoo for the Major Tourist Attractions category.

The power of the Australia’s Nature Coast (ANC) marketing strategy has seen record growth in European visitation to both the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast, with the Great Beach Drive – launched earlier this year – attracting significant international and domestic interest as well.

In the most recent International Visitor Survey (IVS), the Sunshine Coast recorded 10.6% increase in overseas arrivals to June 2015, fuelled largely by growth in the UK (up 23.7%) and Germany (30.6%) – the two markets where ANC is most heavily promoted.

Similarly, the Fraser Coast enjoyed strong international growth in the 2014-15 year, with the IVS figures showing a 14.1% increase in overseas arrivals, including 13.8% growth in the UK market and an impressive 30.5% rise in German visitors.

The launch of Australia’s Nature Coast in 2013 was aimed to broaden international market appeal and attract new investment by leveraging the unique natural assets of the adjoining Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast tourism regions.

The decision to launch the joint initiative recognised the need for diverse, product-rich natural attractions to compete collaboratively in key international markets.

“Consumers don’t recognise regional barriers, and given our proximity and our joint commitment to nature based tourism, the partnership was an ‘obvious’ one,” Sunshine Coast Destination CEO Simon Ambrose said.

“Our strategy targeted the European market in particular because of their specific travel patterns and interests, but the success of marketing initiatives like the ‘Great Beach Drive’ has resonated far wider and we have seen major growth in the Australian, New Zealand and American markets.

"Very few regions can offer such easy access – both Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast have their own airports – and such remarkable diversity of attractions.

“Australia’s Nature Coast has appealed to the discerning travel market who want something extraordinary and that offers more than just beaches, and that’s exactly what the two destinations have been able to present through ANC.”

Now in its third year, the ANC project team is led by key representatives from Sunshine Coast Destination Limited (SCDL), Fraser Coast Opportunities (FCO), Destination Gympie Region, Tourism Noosa and the Great Sandy Biosphere.

Overall, Sunshine Coast tourism operators took out the third highest number of award wins with 11 accolades at this year’s annual Queensland Tourism Awards, as individuals and businesses celebrated the industry’s many achievements.