CATCH UP: Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy discusses tourism strategies with Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington and chairman Bob East.
CATCH UP: Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy discusses tourism strategies with Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington and chairman Bob East.

Region vital to tourism

IT WAS a meeting of the tourism master minds at Lure on Tuesday night, with Tourism and Events Queensland hosting their board meeting in the Whitsundays.

Chairman Bob East said the decision to host the meetings in regional areas was about connecting.

"What we get out of it is that engagement," he said.

"One thing we know with marketing, it's about unlocking experiences and we can't expect to know the experiences unique all across the state.

"You have to get out there and get the information from the people that are doing it day in, day out."

With the newly formed Tourism Whitsundays taking the lead on a local level, Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said regional tourism organisations were an essential part of setting a path for the future.

"The tourism industry is made up of lots of small businesses in the main, so to get that common vision as to where we head and focus on the destination, and what the experiences are within the destination, is really important," she said.

Ms Coddington said their Mackay-Whitsunday representative, Rachael Klitscher, was their connection to this process.

"Her role is to make sure all those linkages are happening with our office in Brisbane," she said.

"So it's working really close with the industry."

As we see plans for an international airport drawing nearer and growing visitor numbers, Mr East said the Whitsundays was a vital market for Queensland.

"I can say for state tourism, this area is incredibly important," he said.

"It's one of our key markets, there's no doubting that.

"I think it has a differentiation to the tropical North Queensland market.

"And when we're looking at some of our big emerging markets, where you can get pristine waters, very friendly service, nice clear open skies, it's going to be a compelling part of what we do."


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