IT'S OUR ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE TOURISM BUSINESS... COAST AIMS TO BE ADVENTURE CENTRAL
News Source: Sunshine Coast Daily, page 7, July 1 2005
By Tenille Bonoguore
The battle lines are drawn in an adrenalin-pumped bid to make the Sunshine Coast the thrills-and-spills capital. But it's not Brisbane or the Gold Coast that poses the toughest competition in the lucrative backpacker market. No, it's the Kiwis who are taking us for a ride.
Sunshine Coast Skydivers marketing manager Zane Haig said a combination of excellent marketing and a favourable exchange rate had made NZ the spot for extreme holidays – until now.
With many backpackers unable to say where the Sunshine Coast is, Mr Haig decided it was time to turn up the pressure. He has launched a discount adventure package designed to bring travelers to the Coast.
The final package is a sore temptation for adventure lovers visiting Queensland, with Sunshine Coast Skydivers, the Big Kart Track, Australia Zoo and Scuba World all on board.
"It's very hard to get them up for Brisbane to do one skydive but if we can get them up here to do the skydive, swim with sharks and visit the Big Kart Track, it's a little more likely," Mr Haig said.
The coalition offers cut-price adventures plus free transport to and from Brisbane and the option of overnight accommodation.
Mr Haig said he hoped to tap into a market that traditionally had little to do with the region.
"We definitely lack a profile. It's just not marketed as a whole very well," he said.
"Most backpackers will know Noosa but they have no idea where the Sunshine Coast is. This not only promoted the businesses but also the Sunshine Coast."
It could also stop major package tours by passing the Coast, as many do now.
"New Zealand is very, very good with this. That's where we're losing a lot of the business too," Mr Haig said.
"New Zealand is promoted as the adventure tour capital. A lot of travelers will wait until they get to NZ because it's marketed and it's a bit cheaper.
"But we've got better weather and better beaches. It's not marketed as a whole."
Mr Haig estimated the backpacker market accounted for 75% to 80% of business for Sunshine Coast Skydivers, with similar levels at other attractions.