WHITE­HAVEN WEL­COME

Tourism in­dus­try stake­hold­ers launch na­tional ad cam­paign

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Peter Carruthers Peter.Carruthers@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

PETER Hearn­shaw was one of the 151 peo­ple rep­re­sent­ing the tourism in­dus­try to lay his towel on the silica white sands of the iconic White­haven Beach yes­ter­day morn­ing.

It was more than a plea­sure trip for the owner of Air­lie Beach Tourism, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ocean Rafting, Ex­plore Whit­sun­day, Tourism Whit­sun­days, Tourism and Events Queens­land and Hamil­ton Is­land.

The beach voted num­ber one in the south­ern hemi­sphere pro­vided the per­fect back­drop to launch an in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic ad cam­paign en­ti­tled Wel­come Back.

Beach tow­els were laid out on the sand to shape the let­ters “wel­come back”.

A month on since Cy­clone Deb­bie tore through the Whit­sun­days, the col­lab­o­ra­tion of in­dus­try stake­hold­ers was de­signed to send a mes­sage loud and clear to the na­tion and the world: the Whit­sun­days is back. A sym­bol of the in­dus­try’s readi­ness to wel­come back trav­ellers from both far and near, the beach towel mes­sage is a timely in­vi­ta­tion for vis­i­tors to re­turn.

Mr Hearn­shaw said the cam­paign was some­thing the in­dus­try needed in the wake of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

“Air­lie Beach re­ally is open for busi­ness to wel­come peo­ple back to the Whit­sun­day is­lands,” he said.

Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner said the event on White­haven was not just a pub­lic re­la­tions stunt but a PR “ac­ti­va­tion” that would tar­get a large au­di­ence via a so­cial me­dia and dig­i­tal cam­paign, partly funded by the Queens­land and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments’ re­lease of $2 mil­lion to en­cour­age Aus­tralians to hol­i­day in Queens­land.

He said the ma­jor­ity of the Whit­sun­days was open again “and the whole town can­not wait to wel­come back trav­ellers and to watch them, like many be­fore them, fall in love with the re­gion”.

“It’s im­por­tant the world knows that most ho­tels have opened their doors, tours are back on the wa­ter and the sun is again shin­ing on the Whit­sun­days. White­haven Beach, voted one of the top 10 in the world, is ready for peo­ple to un­furl their own beach towel on,” he said.

Tourism and Events Queens­land CEO Leanne Coddington said the “wel­come back” mes­sage would de­liver a great boost to the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try.

“This sup­port is vi­tal to the Whit­sun­days com­mu­nity, with tourism worth $1.6 bil­lion to the re­gion and sup­port­ing more than 7000 lo­cal jobs,” she said, adding “the Whit­sun­days is shin­ing brightly,” af­ter per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a bird’s eye view of White­haven Beach.

PHOTO: PHILL GOR­DON/RIPTIDE CRE­ATIVE

LUR­ING IN VIS­I­TORS: Tourism in­dus­try stake­hold­ers, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Tourism Whit­sun­days and Tourism and Events Queens­land, launch the Wel­come Back na­tional ad cam­paign from White­haven Beach.

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