Why Bay tourism decisions shouldn’t be made in Brisbane
THE future of tourism in Hervey Bay should be in the hands of those living in the city, not decision-makers in Brisbane.
That is the view of Shadow Tourism Minister David Crisafulli, who was visiting Hervey Bay to discuss tourism alongside the LNP candidate for the upcoming state election, Steve Coleman.
Mr Crisafulli said the natural attractions of the Fraser Coast were its main drawcard, especially in a post-COVID world.
“Look across the state, look across the country, look across the world,” he said.
“Find me an area that has a better natural offering than here, that has cleaner beaches, that has better hinterlands, that has open spaces to rival this one and I’ll tell you that I’d invest in it in a heartbeat.
“You are blessed with natural beauty, you just need government to get out of the way.
“People are not going to want to go into crowded cities, shoulder to shoulder, even once a vaccine is found.
“It’s going to be a new norm that drives tourism.
“People are looking for authenticity, they are looking for nature-based, they are looking to see stars rather than lights.
“This place is very-well placed to tap into that, we just have to allow local people to hold their own destiny and the rest will fall into place.”
Mr Crisafulli said the first step would be removing the attitude that Brisbane knows best.
“At the moment, all of the marketing dollars are centred around Brisbane,” he said.
“That has to change.”
Mr Crisafulli said retiring member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorensen had long said people in a central office in Brisbane should not be telling people in regional areas what’s best for them.
Mr Crisafulli said it was a message Mr Coleman agreed with.
“It doesn’t work for councils and it doesn’t work for tourism bodies,” he said.
“When it comes to marketing, you’ve got to get out of the way and let local people market their point of difference.
“There is no point somebody in George St, Brisbane, telling someone in Hervey Bay what works.
“That is a broken, antiquated model.”
Mr Crisafulli said the loss of Virgin Australia flights between Hervey Bay and Sydney was a blow for the city.
He said it had been great to see Queenslanders jumping in their cars and supporting other regions during the pandemic.
But in the long-term, flights were a must, Mr Crisafulli said.
“We have to do everything we can to keep competition and to have incentives to ensure flights can remain viable,” he said.
Mr Coleman said Mr Crisafulli understood that Hervey Bay people needed to promote Hervey Bay.
He said there was plenty for people to enjoy in the region, from the foreshore to the beaches and Fraser Island.
Mr Coleman said time and effort needed to be spent targeting the drive market of people in regions up to four or five hours away.