MORE than 170 American travel agents were on Hamilton Island last week to see what Australian tourism companies could offer American tourists.
A total of 90 Australian tourism operators flaunted their “experiences” to the agents where they visited the Great Barrier Reef and other islands as part of Corroboree 2010.
Hamilton Island sales general manager Phillipa Harrison said the agents were “blown away” by the area.
“It wasn't what they expected,” she said.
“There is nothing like seeing the island itself.
“Now they'll be able to better sell our destination.”
Hamilton Island competed against other tourism destinations, including Cairns and Melbourne, for the opportunity through Tourism Australia to host the event.
But Meridien Marinas managing director Russell McCart said he thought it was disappointing the agents didn't come to the mainland.
“I'm not suggesting they can go everywhere but Airlie Beach needs focus and it is not getting any,” he said.
“It is wonderful for Hamilton Island that they can stand on their own two feet but we [Airlie Beach] need our own help.”
Mr McCart said he had tried to contact Tourism Whitsundays to see if Airlie Beach had applied for the tender.
“I just want to know did Airlie Beach apply?” he said.
“Or was there an opportunity to apply?”
A Tourism Whitsundays spokesperson said there would be regional benefits from the event being hosted at Hamilton Island.
State Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt said Hamilton Island had become an increasingly popular holiday spot for Americans and was the ideal host destination for this year's event.
“In the year ending June 2010 the Whitsundays welcomed 17,000 American visitors, which was an increase of six per cent on the previous year,” she said.
“Recent campaigns promoting Queensland and the islands of the Great Barrier Reef have reeled in fantastic results for the state's tourism industry.”
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