TW thinks big to lift tourism

TOURISM Whitsundays has been out and about this week talking with community members about its plans for the region.

Two community information sessions were held on Tuesday at Coral Sea Resort – one at 2pm and one at 6pm – to discuss the Regional Tourism Organisation's future plans and also recruit more partners.

Tourism Whitsundays has big plans for ways to attract more visitors to the region.

But the organisation acknowledges that in order to implement these plans it must have more funding and more members.

Tourism Whitsundays has spent a lot of time recently meeting with different tourism industry sectors and now wants to share that information with the local community and businesses.

Chief executive Peter O'Reilly said in order for the Whitsundays to grow tourist numbers, every local business must support Tourism Whitsundays in better promoting the region.

“We have sat down and examined where we need to increase our marketing efforts both within Australia and overseas in order to increase visitors into the Whitsundays,” Mr O'Reilly said.

“In the past we have set our marketing plans based on the budget we have, but this year we are allowing the plans we have made to dictate the budget.

“But in order to do that, we need increased financial support from local businesses, local government and Tourism Queensland.”

Tourism Whitsundays chairman Chris Jacobs said new membership categories had been created in an attempt to better meet the needs of businesses, including non-tourism businesses. There is also a new category for individuals.

“We are at the stage where we just need people to come forward and sign up in the new membership categories,” he said.

“People are buying the membership for what they can get out of it.

“But there also has to be an element of ‘My income is derived from tourism, so I will show a bit of faith in, and support for, the tourism industry'.

“Without that approach, we just won't have enough resources to do what we want to do for the region.”

The region's biggest tourism losses have come from declines in visitors from Sydney and the local drive market.

Tourism Whitsundays aims to use increased marketing to attract more people from those markets.

It will also focus on international markets, particularly the US, the UK and Europe, as well as growing markets in Asia.

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