In Review

What a welcome to summer we’ve had in the very sunny Whitsundays!

Looking over the past two weeks we have so much to fill you in on, starting firstly with the Adventure Tourism Awards held on the 14th November on the Gold Coast, which Whitsunday Tourism CEO Tash Wheeler was in attendance for. Adventure Queensland (AQ) is the peak backpacking and independent travel industry body for Queensland. This year marked the first awards for the backpacker and youth travel industry. Representing the Whitsundays region, as you can imagine was a large contingency. Reconfirming our strength in the adventure tourism sector. The biggest news from the event was that the award of the night, the Young Industry Legend Award was taken out by our very own Nathan Fleming. 

Well done Nathan!

Tourism Whitsundays hosted in region Jeremy Drake from Escape Travel which runs nationally through the Sunday News LTD platforms. He came to experience the very successful Airlie Beach Music Festival, and also take in the sites that Bowen, Airlie Beach and surrounding Island had to offer, Jeremy was particuarlly taken with everything Bowen, beaches, town, lookout – you name it he loved it!

Also on famil in the region was Penny Watson. Penny was writing a new coffee table book Ultimate Campsites: Australia for publishers Hardie Grant. How could you possibly write about Australia’s ultimate campsites without seeing what The Whitsundays has to offer. Penny loved her camping experience at Crayfish Beach, Hook Island and also Chance Bay, Whitsunday Island.

Fly-fishing aficionado Joshua Hutchins was here with his family to help promote the new emergence of fly-fishing in the Whitsundays, his intent is to showcase to his 12k+ followers that The Whitsundays is the new enticing fly-fishing hub. Thanks to local fly-fisherman Matthew Schulz for showing Josh the hot spots. 
Josh is writing an article on the area for Australia/NZ Fly Fishing magazine; along with a short film, and plan to include key images in a fly-fishing destinations of Australia hardcopy book.

MommyTravels blogger Megan Shamy and family escaped the cold Autumn American thanksgiving for a much warmer jam-packed Australian adventure. Sharing with her 118k followers some of the family friendly highlights The Whitsundays has on offer. Read her article about her time in region here.

Most recently we welcomed Lee Mylne back to our beautiful region. Lee was here doing hotel reviews for The Telegraph Travel UK. Lee's reviews will include Palm Bay Resort, the newly opened Freedom Shores, Coral Sea Resort, Mirage Whitsunday and Heart Hotel. As always Lee loved her time up here, in particular she enjoyed the delicious breakfast at The Deck in Airlie Beach. She also enjoyed learning about the rich history of our region at the Proserpine museum. In Bowen she was regaled with stories from Ben Deluca owner of Summgarden Theatre for the past 56 years. 

Thank you to all our members who supported these famils.  Keep your eyes peeled as the content from these famils rolls in.  

While on the Gold Coast, Tash attended the QTIC Indigenous Form, DestinationQ and the TEQ International Market briefings. Some of the key international insights from the Whitsundays key markets were:

  • China
    • The CYEN decreased against the USD
    • Australian dollar against the CYEN is stable which is good for tourism
    • Stronger political ties between China and Australia
    • 2.1M direct seats between China and Australia (currently there are 1.5M total visitors from China to Australia)
    • Traditional distribution represents 50% of the travel market, the remainder are Online Travel Agent’s (OTA’s) and new platforms
    • Consumer marketing focus is digital and social media
    • Queensland is being positioned as mid-haul rather than long-haul
  • The Americas
    • Economics are good
    • People are looking for customised personal experiences
    • Record low for unemployment and consumer confidence has increased
    • 48% of Americans use smart phones to book long-haul travel
    • OTA’s lead growth across all channels. In the last 2 months bookings to Queensland grew 50% - OTA’s are critical 
    • The key consumer interest is for beaches, shopping and entertainment
    • Goway Travel continue to show strong Canadian growth
  • Europe
    • Resilient, high expenditure market
    • Low unemployment and negative interest rates
    • Positive growth in working holiday visas (France)
    • Traditional distribution channels are still very important for booking travel long haul, internet is mostly used for weekend breaks
    • Europeans are very environmentally aware travellers
    • Main booking period is October to April
    • Brexit is positive for the Europe market in 2019
    • The European traveller averages six weeks holidays per year and 16 mini breaks 
  • UK
    • Brexit is a roller-coaster ride for the market
    • UK economy has been stoic
    • Positive economic indicators
    • Unemployment lowest since 70’s and wages have increased
    • Political leadership is impacting the pound
    • UK market will still travel in tough economic times
    • If visiting friends and relatives (VFR) the consumer will use OTAs
    • HECS debt is impacting the youth traveller 
CEO Tash Wheeler and Chairman Al Grundy also attended the 2018 Queensland Tourism Awards, which were hosted by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), it covers 30 different categories and recognise the outstanding achievements of operators across the state. The Whitsundays was delighted to take home a swagger of awards, including 5 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze.
Congratulations to all our operators who entered this year’s awards, taking home 13 awards from 26 submissions is an amazing result for the region. 

Here is the list of Award Winning Whitsundays Operators 

  • Major Tour and Transport Operators – Red Cat Adventures – GOLD
  • Adventure Tourism – Red Cat Adventures – GOLD
  • Unique Accommodation – Whitsunday Escape – GOLD
  • Caravan and Holiday Park – BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort – GOLD
  • The Richard Power Award for Destination Marketing – The Ultimate Guide to Driving the Great Barrier Reef – GOLD
  • Unique Accommodation – Cumberland Charter Yachts – SILVER
  • Deluxe Accommodation – Mirage Whitsundays – SILVER
  • Luxury Accommodation – Heart Hotel and Gallery Whitsundays - SILVER
  • The Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism – Tall Ship Adventures – Derwent Hunter – SILVER
  • Major Tour and Transport Operators – Ocean Rafting – SILVER
  • Adventure Tourism – Whitsunday Jetski Tours - SILVER
  • Tour and Transport Operators – Whitsunday Jetski Tours – BRONZE
  • Adventure Tourism – Ocean Rafting – BRONZE
  • Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services – Hemingway’s – BRONZE
Tourism Whitsundays was thrilled to once again host the Australian Fishing Championship at Lake Proserpine, this year the anglers also had the chance to fish the reef and head to Bowen for the wrap party, helping to ensure the publicity for this event was distributed throughout the region as best as possible.

Tourism Whitsunday’s Marketing Manager Donna hosted one of the Product Managers Michael Koster from Carnival Australia in region thanks to Intercruises Shoreside & Port services. We were able to showcase and talk about the diversity of products the Whitsundays has to offer.

Tourism Whitsundays in conjunction with Tourism & Events Queensland is partnering with Qantas Airways for a joint group press trip that will welcome Qantas’ new Dreamliner 787 aircraft and bid farewell to their Boeing 747 flight (LAX to Brisbane). This press trip will feature The Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef, in an effort to highlight positive messaging and preservation. 4-5 journalists have been invited on this trip, journalists in attendance write for high-profile, upmarket outlets.

Tourism Whitsunday recently ran a Sunlover Famil Incentive which resulted in a 15% growth in Whitsunday Sales Year on Year. Sunlover stores with the highest Whitsunday Sales have won a place on a famil from 29 Nov – 3 Dec.

Following our previous successful four years, the annual Whitsunday Tourism Exchange is back! The WTE is an opportunity for product Managers from 24 of the top trade partners representing wholesalers, inbound tour operators and online travel agents to descend on Airlie Beach giving local tour operators and accommodation houses the chance to provide product updates and build relationships via several events set up over the week, with the welcome dinner at Boathouse FishBar kicking things off. Several big names have confirmed their attendance this year such as Australia One, Tourism Australia, Helloworld Travel Ltd, Flight Centre Travel Group, Expedia Group and Tourism and Events Queensland. The main workshop will be held at Peppers Airlie Beach followed by a networking event at Mira Ambrosia Restaurant, Mirage Whitsundays, sponsored by Tourism Australia, Mirage Whitsundays and Whitsunday Coast Airport scheduled for the 5th December. 

Tourism Whitsundays is proud to be partnering with local industry collective #GoBareboating for the 2018 Australian Society of Travel writers Christmas lunches. This is an opportunity to showcase the Whitsundays region and highlight the fantastic bareboating experience of the Whitsundays to key global writers.

Don’t forget Tourism Whitsunday together with The Reef Gateway are hosting the 2018 Industry Christmas Party, tomorrow night (Thursday 29th November from 6pm). This will be our last networking night of 2018 with industry colleagues, clients and friends. Dust off your best Xmas outfit – we’ll see you there. 

Making the Most of your Membership

Please find below a list of opportunities available for you to get involved with. If you're unsure if these are for you and want to know more, let us know. 
  • Tourism Whitsundays end of year industry Christmas Party is on tomorrow at the Reef Gateway Hotel. Bookings close tonight, so make sure you book your ticket now! Click here
  • Expressions of interest are now open to participate in the 2019 China Roadshow Program. Click here for more information.
  • Tourism Whitsundays is excited to offer several advertising opportunities over the coming months.
    Link to the prospectus can be found 
    here. Please email Cherie by Friday 7th December if any of these opportunities are of interest to you.  
  • Digital Influencers Famil Opportunity -  Emily Jabour
  • PR Famil Opportuniy - Marie Barbieri
  • Did you attend the Airlie Beach Festival of Music? We would love to hear what you thoughts, complete the survey here
  • Whitsunday Regional Council - Airbnb Forum
  • Join The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef Campaign 
  • Expressions of interest are now open for QTIC Tourism and Hospitality Mature Aged Program. Read the project scope here and complete the EOI Form here.
  • Tourism Whitsundays (TW) Members are invited to participate in the latest edition of the International Product Manual. The International Product Manual is the key tool used across the globe to provide inspiration to our trade partners. Showcasing our hero experiences, key products, a bucket list of must sees and dos, as well as key information on how to gain access to the region. Contact Aimee for more information.
  • Tourism Whitsundays are creating a “Crew Guide to Airlie Beach", an informative document for Cruise Ship staff to encourage them to disembark, if your business would like to offer an exclusive special offer to Cruise Ship Staff contact Natasha.
  • Tourism and Events Queensland will be shining the spotlight on Queensland’s best tourism experiences in January 2019 when the first Best of Queensland Experiences are announced.
    Whilst the eligibility criterion has now been finalised, it is time for all members with an active ATDW listing to work on achieving and maintaining the minimum 80 points to be included in the program. See an example report 
    here of how your business will be assessed, and for any further information please contact Haylee.
  • Express your interest to be apart of the Queensland on Tour Greater China 2019. Read the prospectus here.
  • Have you created your ATDW listing? A 12 month subscription has been included in your membership contact Haylee.
  • Advertising Opportunity - Website Advertising 2018/19
  • Renew or enquire about the benefits of membership with Tourism Whitsundays - 2018/19 Membership Prospectus is now available contact the Haylee for more information. 
Find out more

Stories from around the World
Tourism Whitsundays works closely with Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Australia on a range of journalist and digital influencer famils. the aim of these famils is to showcase to the world the beautiful Whitsundays. These couldn't be done without the fantastic support from our members. Here is a snapshot of some of the stories that were generated over the past couple of weeks.
Member Market Place
Welcome to Member Marketplace. As a member of Tourism Whitsundays please find below opportunities from other members and stakeholders withing the Tourism Whitsundays family. If you would like to include something here, please send to our Membership TeamHere are some great member to member special offers:
  • ECO Tourism Certification Whitsunday Tourism Offer - Why Choose Us? Forget the grew suits, stuffiness and overbearing rules and policies - we will set your ideas free.
  • Inspired Impact | Receive 10% off custom websites and reservation system setup and integration. Full website design and integration on the Room Manager Reservation system and Channel Manager. Full training and support provided. Prices start from $497. Contact Jasmine
Proof of membership is required when purchasing the above products
Workshop Noticeboard
Here is a list of workshops available in the Whitsundays for you and your teams. If you have a workshop you would like to promote, please send through to us.
Top Tips from Expedia 
Delivering on guest experience just got easier!
Guests who are engaged pre and during their stay tend to spend more and are more likely to return. Recognizing the value of guest engagement Expedia Group has built a powerful set of tools in Expedia Group’s Partner Central to help you better engage with your guest.

Engaged Guest Spend
more than disengaged guest

Engage quest are
more likely to return.

New Feature* Send automatic personalized messages to Guest!
Save on time with new scheduled messages. Get all your need to know information automatically sent after the booking has been made.
Do you have a date range where you may have some work on and need guest to be aware? Or are you working with a local restaurant and want to help promote their great menu? All you need to do is create a template, use the personalised tagging to give it that personal feel, set when you want it to be sent and you’re all done!
For more information on setting up automatic messages please reach out to your Expedia Group Market Manager.
Improve your guest relations here.

Money Money Money

 Please find below information on grants and funding:

  • Empowering Families Innovation Fund aims to generate ideas for new initiatives, programs or ways of working that will help keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children safe, well and connected to family, kin, culture and country.
  • The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between Whitsunday Regional Council and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, which invests in quality arts and cultural experiences across Queensland based on locally determined priorities.
  • The Community Assistance Grant recognises the important role volunteer based organisations have in the region and how Council can best support their endeavours.
  • The Sport & Recreation Financial Support for Elite Athletes is available for all residents currently residing within the Whitsunday Regional Council Local Government Area.
  • The Queensland Destination Events Program (QDEP), is available to increase the funding for your regional event.
  • Gambling Community Benefit Fund, allocates grants to not-for-profit community groups, to enhance their capacity to provide services, leisure activities and opportunities for Queensland communities.
  • The Current Grant Opportunity List contains all current Grant Opportunities (GOs) open for application. 
  • The Grants Hub, the award-winning grants directory and team that makes finding funding easy.
  • The National Australia Bank Foundation is a private charitable trust with a vision to support greater social innovation in how societal challenges are tackled. By providing financial grants and other valuable in-kind support, we see ourselves as an ‘enabler’ - enabling for-purpose organisations to incubate and scale new, innovative and sustainable ways of solving problems.
  • Small Business Digital Grants Program provides small businesses with access to digital technologies and services to enable them to work smarter, engage with the global economy and make the most of online business opportunities arising from digital disruption.
  • contains grant assistance and other support.
  • Regional Development Australia collates information on upcoming grants from government, corporate, philanthropic and private sectors.
What's coming up in the Whitsundays
The Whitsundays as a destination has a multitude of events and activities at any one time. Below is a list of events that are coming up over the next two months from regional consumer, cruise ships and Tourism Whitsundays corporate events. If you have an event that you would like added, please load to ATDW or contact us on how to do it.

  • December 6 | Pacific Dawn
  • December 11 | Sea Princess
  • December 16 | Seabourn Encore
  • December 16 | Pacific Aria
  • December 18 | MS Noordam
  • Decmeber 19 | Seven Seas Mariner

Find out more
Careers in Tourism

Living in a small region, we want to ensure we keep the skills and knowledge local. If you have positions you would like to advertise, click here.

For tips on applying for jobs in tourism, visit the website.

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