How Bundaberg's Tourism Industry Has Built A Strong Post-COVID Future From The Heart 

Bundaberg Tourism in partnership with the tourism industry have just completed a highly successful travel trade sales missionas the region’s tourism industry looks to 2021 with optimism and confidence.

The five-day sales mission, led by Bundaberg Tourism in partnership with Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, and supported by Bundaberg Rum, Villa Mirasol Motor Inn and Kellys Beach Resort, saw over 120 key contacts across South East Queensland receive training and industry updates on the Bundaberg region across a series of meetings and networking functions.

The mission visited retail, wholesale and inbound travel agents, as well as Tourism & Events Queensland offices and Visitor Information Centres, and immediate and longer-term opportunities with partners including Discover Queensland already in negotiation.

The rapid onset of COVID and the resulting cancellations after an already difficult 2019/20 summer left the Australian travel industry reeling in early 2020.

Yet in the face of deep uncertainty, the Bundaberg tourism industry has focussed on sustaining and growing strong relationships with travel trade and key distribution partners across the globe to ensure that the Southern Great Barrier Reef (SGBR) remains top of mind domestically and internationally as restrictions ease and when international borders reopen.

In the past 12 monthsBundaberg Tourism has invested in activities including:

  • Continued investment into the significant SGBR partnership with the Regional Tourism Organisationsin Capricorn and Gladstone to market the SGBR to consumers and travel trade, including running the SGBR Leaders Program with trade development mentoring thanks to the Queensland Government;
  • Engagement of a Project Officer with a strong background in SGBR travel trade distribution and development;
  • The delivery of a Trade Training webinar series with 7 of Bundaberg’s trade-ready operators engaging with more than 300 trade partners world-wide and more webinars scheduled for early 2021;
  • Attendance at Australian Marketplace Online, where representatives from BT, Kellys Beach Resort, Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort had one-on-one virtual meetings with travel agents and buyers from Europe and the UK across three nights in November 2020;
  • Participation in Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist Program webinar in January 2021, in whichGerman-speaking BT and Lady Musgrave Experience representatives gave key product updates to retail travel agents in Germany;
  • Proactive work with retail, online and wholesale travel trade to encourage the development of new itineraries and packages in the Bundaberg and SGBR regions.

Katherine Reid, Bundaberg Tourism CEO said, “Thesuccess of the Bundaberg region in 2020 comes off the back of the collective efforts of the industry to nurturestrong partnerships over the past 12 months and in the preceding years.

Through the SGBR partnership, Bundaberg Tourism hasworked to grow the region’s international marketvisitation, their length of stay and their expenditure, as well ourregion’s reputation as the start of the Great BarrierReef,” Ms Reid said.

“By staying connected and relevant during tough times,the region has once again demonstrated that positivityresilienceand a willingness to collaborate are keys to the region’s success.

Recent Tourism Australia research suggests that Australians still have an appetite to travel nationally over the next 12 months, despite a reduction since the Christmas border closures.  While immediate booking intention has decreased, Aussies are currently dreaming about or actively planning their next trip.

The Bundaberg region has worked hard over the past year to remain in the minds and hearts of potential visitors, resulting in considerable interest and visitation since lockdowns eased mid-2020.”

Bundaberg Tourism and our industry will continue to leverage this existing interest, backed by the positive first-hand recommendations of the many new and returning guests we had to the region over summer to keep generating interest and bookings for 2021.

In 2021, on top of the individual leisure travellers that have flooded the region over summer, Bundaberg operators will welcome new group bookings from Fun Over Fifty, Travel At 60 and a variety of boutique tours organised by retail agents seeking to diversify during international travel bans.

The highly successful sales mission for the Bundaberg Region builds on the work of the Southern Great Barrier Reef partnership, and the opportunity to participate was made available to BT members who have completed the organisation’s travel trade mentoring program.

Tourism Australia’s recent announcement of the new-look return of Australian Tourism Exchange, the nation’s premier travel tradeshow, further bouys the region’s confidence in travel trade engagement.