Australia’s tourism heavy hitters

Sunshine Coast in spotlight as Australia’s tourism heavy hitters visit

Visit Sunshine Coast met with 50 of the most influential Inbound Tourism Operators (ITOs) from across the country at a ‘South Queensland Workshop’ held in Brisbane last week.

What does that mean?

Well, there is a lot of different lingo in the tourism industry and an ITO is an Australian based business that provides itinerary planning, product selection and coordinates the reservation, confirmation and payment of travel arrangements on behalf of their overseas clients such as a wholesaler or retail travel agent.

Organised by Australia’s peak international tourism organisation, the Australian Tourism Export Council, the sales workshop allowed us to highlight new Sunshine Coast tourism products and itineraries suitable for international visitors from Eastern and Western markets.

As a bonus and following the workshop, seven ITOs visited the region from 2-4 March to experience first-hand why the remarkable diversity of the Sunshine Coast is ideal for international visitors. The group comprised managers from All Pacific Travel Concept, E.C Travel, Flag Travel/Virtual Brainet, Great Holidays Tour Services, One Pacific, Southern World Australia and Valentino Holidays.

The Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Mooloolaba, Noosa and Rainbow Beach were included in the visit with experiences ranging from a walk and tour at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, sample of local ales at Brouhaha Brewery, dinner at the revitalised Wharf Mooloolaba to a kayaking adventure at Double Island Point and sneak preview of the new eco accommodation at ‘habitat’ Noosa.

The Sunshine Coast has become a favourite destination for visitors from around the world – as close as New Zealand, and as far away as Scandinavia and the United States.

In fact, the latest International Visitor Survey figures show that international visitation to the Sunshine Coast grew by 8.2% to 294,000 in the year ending September 2017 with markets such as the UK and many European destinations booming.

With representatives located in Europe, Singapore and on the Sunshine Coast, it’s never been more important for our team to keep the foot on the accelerator with activity in overseas markets – particularly driving awareness in preparation for the new airport expansion, due for completion by Christmas 2020.

Showcasing our rich diversity of product as well as new attractions, restaurants and activities will increase our share of international visitors and pay long-term dividends for Sunshine Coast businesses and the local economy.

Simon Latchford is the CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast.