Tourists can't get enough of our Reef.
Tourists can't get enough of our Reef. Seanna Cronin

Great Barrier Reef brings bumper number of tourists

AN INTERNATIONAL campaign marketing Great Barrier Reef drive holidays has sold almost two and half times more flights into Queensland than anticipated and seen an increase in German visitors booking campervans for travel through Queensland.

The Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) campaign which ran from November 2018 to April 2019 with wholesale trade partners in Germany, showcased the diverse experiences on offer that make the Great Barrier Reef the ultimate road trip.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said more than 600 travel agents were trained and updated on selling Great Barrier Reef holidays as part of the campaign.

"The Great Barrier Reef is our greatest natural tourism asset - we want more people from around the world to experience this icon," she said.

"This campaign is about bringing more tourists to Queensland to support local jobs and stimulate our economy.

"Increasing visitor expenditure through longer stays and more activities from our traditional international markets is a vital strategy for the government.

"This campaign was about capitalising on the market's desire to experience multiple destinations in one trip," Ms Jones said.

Ms Jones said all campaign targets were exceeded, with website visitation to campaign partners Explorer Fernreisen and Boomerang Reisen doubling and almost tripling expectations.

"We saw flights booked to Brisbane and Cairns exceed targets by two and a half times and a double digit percentage increase in campervan hire bookings through one trade wholesale partner.

In an industry first, all seven Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) representing the length of the Great Barrier Reef collaboratively funded and supported the campaign together with TEQ's European-based team.

"TEQ has already scheduled in phase two of the campaign commencing next month," Ms Jones said.

General Manager Bundaberg Tourism Katherine Reid said the collaborative effort enabled RTOs to stretch marketing dollars further and tap directly into markets that couldn't normally be reached through individual efforts.

"Working closely with TEQ and our Great Barrier Reef partners has given us the opportunity to showcase the diversity of Queensland experiences and deliver destination awareness, conversion to bookings for our industry, and boosting our regional economies," Ms Reid said.