Coronavirus Arrivals
Coronavirus Arrivals

How Kiwis will save Gold Coast's $6B industry

GOLD Coast tourism bosses will launch a massive charm offensive into the lucrative New Zealand market after the war against the coronavirus meltdown got a whole lot worse.

A $1.2 million advertising campaign enticing family and over-50s Kiwi visitors back to the Glitter Strip will begin this Sunday.

It is designed to help combat the Federal Government's decision yesterday to include South Korea in its overseas travel ban. It is a major blow to the city's $6 billion tourism industry as 76,000 South Korean visitors bring in $226 million to the state economy each year.

Coronavirus has hit the Coast’s tourism industry hard as overseas visitors have stayed away.
Coronavirus has hit the Coast’s tourism industry hard as overseas visitors have stayed away.

It comes just weeks after flights and group tours from China were cancelled, cutting off the Gold Coast's biggest overseas market.

The three-week Kiwi marketing blitz will include outdoor signage and advertising on free-to-air TV and online channels YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

And it'll be cheap as chips, with budget airlines slashing the price of trans-Tasman flights to as low as $159.

Destination Gold Coast will also spend $1 million on television, outdoor and cinema advertising to target domestic travellers from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Annaliese Battista. Picture: Mike Batterham
Annaliese Battista. Picture: Mike Batterham

"Over the past few weeks Destination Gold Coast has managed to secure emergency funding to promote the Gold Coast in response to the compounded effects to tourism from coronavirus and the bushfires," Destination Gold Coast chief executive Annaliese Battista said.

New Zealand is already the Gold Coast's second-largest international market, with 210,000 Kiwis visiting in the year ending September 2019.

Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan said the New Zealand market was critical to bolstering the tourism industry.

"We are in a critical position right now and we need to pour money into advertising interstate and in the New Zealand market.

 

"Obviously, this is very disappointing news given Korea is a growing market."

The New Zealand and interstate marketing pushes will be funded with $1 million from the Gold Coast City Council and the already announced $2.3 million from Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ).

The Korean tourism market has grown steadily in recent years - from 63,000 visitors in the year to June 2016 to 76,000 visitors in the year to June 2019.

Gold Coast to Seoul flights which launched late last year were suspended last week. They were expected to create nearly 2000 new tourism jobs, bring an extra 156,000 airline seats to the city and generate more than $176 million for the local economy.

"The outbreak of the coronavirus presents the biggest challenge we have faced as a sector," Ms Battista said. "It has already had a bigger impact than SARS and will be more detrimental than the global financial crisis.

"The global health crisis is a significant disrupter that is likely to play out over years, not months, and it is therefore imperative that we continue to advocate for further funding from both the state and federal governments, to support the Gold Coast's major economic sector.

"In the wake of the challenges the sector is already facing, accessibility into the Gold Coast remains critical to our economy.

"The Gold Coast is a highly appealing destination for the sophisticated Korean market and once the ban is lifted we welcome their return."

TEQ group executive Nick Elliott told the Bulletin that work would soon begin to rebuild the city's connection with the Asian country.

"South Korea is an important market where we have built strong relationships," he said.

"We know that Koreans enjoy visiting the Gold Coast and we will work hard with Destination Gold Coast and our partners in market to ensure that visitor numbers recover quickly once travel resumes."