Showing UK travel agents a warm welcome

Nine lucky travel agents from the UK have this week toured the Sunshine Coast region experiencing a warm welcome from local tourism operators.

Coordinated and hosted by Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC), in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and Etihad Airways; the travel consultants visited the area from 12-15 October to experience the region’s international tourism products first hand.

The trip was part of a prize for front-line selling travel agents who engaged in a UK TEQ-led trade campaign that ran from April to May 2018 with the aim to enhance agents’ knowledge and ability to sell the region.

 Winning agents were predominantly from key distribution partners including Freedom Australia, Flight Centre UK, Gold Medal, First Class Holidays, Wexas, Hays Travel, Travel Nation, Designer Travel and Travel Counsellors.

 VSC CEO Simon Latchford said the visit was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Sunshine Coast region to key international travel representatives.

 “We know that our nature-based tourism is a key selling point in the UK – beaches and wildlife along with our rich diversity of produce and sunny climate - create a compelling combination,” he said.

 “The visit allowed us to showcase the natural assets that we have on offer, along with new products and of course drive home the region’s ease of access and proximity between experiences.

 “VSC will continue to undertake a number of marketing campaigns in 2018-19 with leading UK trade partners as well as content-led tactical digital activity to inspire and convert UK travellers to visit the spectacular Sunshine Coast.”

Freedom Australia Travel Sales Administrator Melissa Morrison said, “standing on the edge of Rainbow Beach, watching a pod of dolphins swim along just offshore, I was almost overcome with emotion. Seeing dolphins in the wild was a first for me, but that's just one of the magical experiences the Sunshine Coast can offer. 

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UK famil participants enjoy cuddling a koala at Australia Zoo (left to right):

Caroline Bailey (Designer Travel); Nicole Salmon (Hays Travel); Stav Banks (Wexas Travel); Natalie Chen (First Class Holidays); Emma Rowan (TEQ UK); Alan Wilman (Travel Counsellors); Lucy Gill (Gold Medal); Georgia Turner (Flight Centre); Melissa Morrison (Freedom Australia); and Naomi Osborne (Travel Nation).

“From the unspoilt nature of Gympie and the Noosa Everglades, to the boho chic of towns such as Mooloolaba, the spectacle of the Glass House Mountains and the eclectic and exciting local products of Eumundi – the Sunshine Coast really does have everything. 

“The whole experience was amazing from start to finish. I'll certainly be back and I'll be recommending the Sunshine Coast to colleagues and clients.”

Some of the group experiences in the region included:

  • Seeing native wildlife at Australia Zoo
  • Sampling premium craft beer and local food at Brouhaha Brewery
  • Browsing the stalls and meeting characters at Eumundi Markets
  • An inspection of Habitat Noosa’s new eco accommodation and
  • Travelling along the Great Beach Drive on a 4WD experience.

The UK trade visit coincides with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal tour of Australia, with the pair set to discover ‘Australia’s Nature Coast’ via Fraser Island early next week.

The latest International Visitor Survey results by Tourism Research Australia confirm the Sunshine Coast attracted an all-time record 307,000 international visitors in the year ending March 2018. The 6.3% growth in international visitors to the Sunshine Coast exceeded the Queensland state-wide average of 5.5% with the region attracting 59,628 overnight UK visitors - an increase of 5.2% year-on-year.