A SOUTHERN Downs tourism operator has slammed the latest Tourism Queensland advertising campaign as “beach-centric” and accuses the organisation of selling out the bush.
Stanthorpe accommodation provider Phil Moye said he was “completely frustrated” with Tourism Queensland's continual focus on the coast.
“There is more to Queensland than beaches, but Tourism Queensland has forgotten that,” Mr Moye said.
“The bush and regional operators have been sold out, once again.”
Tourism Queensland launched the $4 million advertising rebrand on the Gold Coast this week as part of a global push to promote the Sunshine State.
The campaign replaces the ‘Where else but Queensland' slogan with the new tagline ‘Queensland, Where Australia Shines'.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh launched the new campaign with assurances it had widespread industry support.
“Feedback from our tourism industry both in Australia and overseas is that they love the new brand,” the Warwick-born Premier said.
“And we are sure Queenslanders will as well, as they know more than anyone that Queensland is where Australia shines.”
But there were clouds of doubt about the new campaign's beach-focused lead advertisement yesterday.
Mr Moye, who is past president of Granite Belt Wine and Tourism, said the campaign snubbed regional areas.
“Regional Queensland has been ignored once again, nothing changes,” Mr Moye said.
“Tourism Queensland is completely beach-centric; if regional areas are lucky we might get one or two seconds in this campaign.”
Yet others like outspoken Goomburra tourist operator Margaret Cairns, who chairs Southern Downs Granite Belt Regional Tourism, said it was pertinent for advertising to start with the “wow” factor.
She said having worked in the advertising sector she understood Tourism Queensland's latest approach.
“You have to kick off with the glamorous stuff, the wow factor, and get international and interstate tourists' attention,” Mrs Cairns said.
“Once they get to the beach it is our job as regional tourism operators to lure them inland.”
It was a sentiment backed by Glengallan Heritage Trust chairwoman Donna Fraser.
“Tourism Queensland's role is to bring international and domestic visitors to the state and for many people that means beaches,” Mrs Fraser said.
“Our responsibility is to get tourists beyond the coast.”
But Mr Moye disagrees.
“Tourists are always going to come to the beach; everybody knows about Queensland's beaches,” he said.
“Thanks to Tourism Queensland the world thinks we all live in beach houses.”
Mr Moye said it was critical the marketing body looked beyond the sand and promoted lesser known, but “no less appealing” regional attractions.
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