WHALE TAIL: This was just one of the amazing moments a group of whale watchers experienced during a trip off Hervey Bay.
WHALE TAIL: This was just one of the amazing moments a group of whale watchers experienced during a trip off Hervey Bay. Yvonne Miles

Sydney market key to Coast growth: tourism boss

TOURISM leaders have a $200,000 plan to bring more visitors to the Fraser Coast - and they have the nation's biggest city in their sights.

In a bid to drive interstate visitor numbers, Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons said the organisation was directly targeting the Sydney market.

He said NSW and Sydney were the next biggest tourism markets for the region, following the local market within 400km.

The direct Virgin flight between Sydney and Hervey Bay was a key tool at the tourism industry's disposal, he said.

"The accessibility of that Virgin airlines flight means you can have a wilderness experience 90 minutes from the biggest city in the country," Mr Simons said.

"The winter campaign was a 160,000 FCTE and industry spend with additional spend from Tourism and Events Queensland and bonus air time taking it to over $200,000.

"The individual segments between TV, radio and digital are commercial in confidence."

As part of a major campaign aimed at our southern neighbours, Hervey Bay was featured in a Sydney Weekender episode last Sunday.

The segment spruiked the city's whale-watching industry.

This will be followed by a Queensland Weekender episode again featuring the whales, as well as Fraser Island (K'gari).

"Whale watching and Fraser Island are the two biggest draw cards for the region," Mr Simons said.

Mr Simons said FCTE's campaign was backed by tourism operators who had funded about 30 per cent of the budget for the region's marketing.

"We couldn't do this without operators, it is a cooperative campaign on the major products in the region using the money from council funding and TEQ."

Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour said the coverage aired at an ideal time for the Fraser Coast, as people start to think about spring and summer holidays.

"The shows are opportune, coming hot on the heels of recent media attention focussing on the cost of overseas travel and highlighting holidaying at home," Cr Seymour said.

"By exposing the Fraser Coast to such a large market FCTE will give the regional tourism market a huge boost."