TALKING TOURISM: Coastal migration booms

AUSTRALIAN Bureau of Statistics figures show regional and coastal migration continues to boom.

The populations of coastal areas such as the Sunshine Coast are experiencing some of the fastest growth yet. The trend is so great some commentators have labelled it "the seachange phenomenon".

Why wouldn't you visit or even relocate to the Sunshine Coast? We live and work in one of the most enviable coastal locations in Australia. We not only boast more than 100 kilometres of world-class beaches but also rivers, canals and lakes that make up our rich water life.

Tourism Australia is preparing to launch a new $40 million marketing campaign touting the fantastic aquatic and coastal experiences on offer around the country in an attempt to better compete against rival destinations such as the United States, South Africa and France to attract international tourists.

The new multi-platform campaign, to be launched early next year, will be funded on a similar level to the very successful Restaurant Australia campaign, based around food and wine experiences, that launched 18 months ago.

That campaign has already boosted spending on food and wine by close to $700 million a year, which is 40% higher than the two-year target of $500 million.

Australia and the Sunshine Coast's coastal appeal might seem obvious to us, but Tourism Australia found a 10% decline had occurred in Google keyword searches for "Australian beaches" and "the Great Barrier Reef" across the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan and India in the 2013-14 financial year.

The beauty of the campaign is that the Coast is not seasonal but perfect year-round - from swimming under waterfalls in summer to whale watching in winter.

We will reveal more exciting opportunities to get involved with our aquatic activities early next year but I strongly believe we have a lot to offer. We will be working to put the region forward as the perfect coastal destination for experiences in, on and immersed under the water in order to attract more visitors.

This will be my final column for 2015, and I would like to thank the Sunshine Coast Daily readers for your continued support of our organisation. I would also like to thank our wonderful members, Visitor Information Centre volunteer ambassadors, the Visit Sunshine Coast Board, my team and our valued partners.

I wish you a safe festive season and have no doubt that 2016 will continue to build on 2015 and be prosperous for our tourism sector.

Simon Ambrose is CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast.