Gladstone's reef connection boosted by new campaign

QUEENSLANDERS in the state's south-east will finally know that "where great begins" is in Gladstone when a $450,000 tourism campaign rolls out on Thursday.

The brand awareness campaign will showcase the natural beauty of the Southern Great Barrier Reef and the tourism experience on offer through billboards, buses, television, in print, on radio, online and social media.

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said this second funding boost for the "where great begins" campaign - enticing visitors to the Capricorn, Bundaberg North Burnett and Gladstone regions - would promote the fact the reef began just four hours' drive from Brisbane.

She said since the campaign began last year, awareness among Queenslanders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a tourist destination had risen to 81%, compared to 66-72% in 2012.

"Furthermore, 17% of Queenslanders surveyed after the campaign was introduced in 2013 nominated the Southern Great Barrier Reef as the best place to visit awe-inspiring natural wonders, compared to studies in 2012 which showed just 2-3% nominated the individual regions," she said.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development chief Glenn Churchill said this activity formed part of the organisation's continued commitment to promote the iconic experiences and leisure activities available in the Gladstone region, Banana Shire and wider Southern Great Barrier Reef.

He said it was about "promoting the liveability and tourism appeal of a world-class destination right on our doorstep".

Capricorn Enterprise chief Mary Carroll said the research had proven this campaign was critical for brand awareness.

She said only about 2% of visitors surveyed before the campaign began knew the Great Barrier Reef could be experienced in Bundaberg, Gladstone and Rockhampton.

That figure jumped to about 30% during a follow-up survey a year later.

"The proof is in the pudding that it is working," she said.

"It doesn't mean in our campaign components that we are excluding the city or and country experiences of our very diverse region.

"What it means is we are gaining incredible momentum with the lead brand Southern Great Barrier Reef, which is the hook.

"It is providing a campaign platform for our operators in markets we cannot afford to reach individually."

For more information about 'Where great begins' click here.