Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has launched a major new marketing push focusing on intrastate travel as the state’s border to NSW, Victoria and New Zealand remains closed.
However, Visit Sunshine Coast’s interim chief executive Craig Davidson said the campaign, which focuses on nature experiences, would soon “evolve” as restrictions are relaxed.
“Already we have seen outstanding results from the launch of new direct air services from Cairns and the resumption of flights from Adelaide, but clearly many of our operators have suffered as a result of the loss of key markets,” said Davidson.
The news comes after Australian Aviation revealed this week that Queensland’s decision to reshut its border to NSW bizarrely caused Brisbane to surge past Sydney to become the country’s busiest airport by a huge margin. Australian Airports Association chief executive James Goodwin said the development was due to the state embracing intrastate flights more than NSW.
The campaign, called ‘For Real’, focuses on authentic “real experiences” and will be rolled out initially on social media and digital billboards.
It aims to use 10-second videos to show “quintessential Sunshine Coast experiences and activities that can be enjoyed at the exact time the traveller sees them, giving them an excuse to dream for a few seconds”.
“Undoubtedly the Sunshine Coast has had a reputation for its premium beach and nature-based environment, and today there is even greater desire for uncrowded beaches, wide-open spaces and a genuine respect for nature, which is reflected in this campaign,” said Davidson.
“We are not about mass tourism, but rather emphasising our incredibly diverse geography and range of attractions.
“The campaign will evolve as Queensland opens up further to interstate travellers.”
The initial focus on more local travel comes as the knock-on effect of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s border restrictions meant Brisbane clocked up 324,188 total passengers in August versus Sydney’s 129,000.
Significantly, the Queensland capital’s numbers were down only slightly from July (358,537) whereas the NSW capital’s collapsed 60 per cent (from 317,000).
“Brisbane is currently the busiest airport in the nation due to strong intrastate travel and an increase in domestic tourism,” said Australian Airports Association chief executive James Goodwin.
Queensland opened up to NSW on 10 July but closed to Sydney on 1 August and then to all of NSW and the ACT just a week later. As the NSW-Victoria border shut earlier on 6 July, the figures suggest Premier Palaszczuk’s decision was the crucial factor behind the swing in numbers.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Tourism Australia launched a new ad series, reportedly costing $7 million, fronted by celebrity couple Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham accompanied its launch by urging Australians to book an interstate flight and holiday domestically to save “the job of a fellow Australian”.
“We are urging Australians to support our airlines and airports, tour operators, hire car companies and accommodation providers, while also giving people the chance to enjoy some of the incredible experiences our country has to offer,” said Minister Birmingham.