More than 500 tourism industry professionals and Visitor Information Centre volunteers have converged at the new Sunshine Coast Convention Centre for the region’s largest tourism exchange of the year: SCouT 2019.
The annual event, now in its second year, provides a forum for tourism operators to connect with accommodation providers and industry professionals to promote their product, form working relationships and grow referrals.
SCouT 2019 was held on Tuesday, 14 May by Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council and saw more than 100 tourism operators from across attractions, events, restaurants and immersive encounters exhibit their product.
The event was broken in to two sessions, with Visitor Information Centre volunteers invited in the morning followed by accommodation providers and the tourism community from 2:30pm.
Four guest speakers presented throughout the day, and industry professionals were on hand to facilitate discussions between tourism operators to assist them in creating business opportunities.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said encouraging our local tourism industry to form partnerships and promote the region’s attractions is vital for ensuring Sunshine Coast tourism continues to go from strength-to-strength.
“As an industry it’s important we work together to continually expand on our tourism offerings and encourage referrals,” he said.
“We have so many fantastic attractions, restaurants, events and immersive encounters across the region for tourists to visit and explore.
“By promoting these businesses we can encourage visitors to stay longer – which benefits our accommodation providers – and importantly, spend more.
“Recent figures show the Sunshine Coast’s popularity as a holiday destination continues to grow with record holiday spend in the region from domestic visitors in the year end December 2018.
Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the exchange was a great way for local operators to cultivate business ideas and opportunities within our thriving tourism industry.
“We received some great feedback from participants at the inaugural event last year, and more than 20 operators identified new partnership opportunities as a result,” Cr O’Pray said.
“This will be a unique opportunity for our local tourism businesses to potentially grow referrals to their business, discover new collaboration opportunities and hear from a range of leaders in the tourism industry.”
Among those tourism operators taking part in this year’s exchange was the newly opened TreeTop Challenge, located in The Big Pineapple precinct which is currently undergoing a $150 million revitalisation.
TreeTop Challenge Director David Taylor said: “as a new attraction, we are particularly excited to meet with and collaborate with the vibrant Sunshine Coast tourism community”.
“I believe to be successful in our global tourism landscape, it’s vital for us as tourism operators to collaborate and package together so that we create unique and compelling experiences for tourists to holiday in our region.
“As a new attraction, we are also excited to meet with and educate the passionate volunteers of our Visitor Centres about the TreeTop Challenge.”
SCouT 2019, the Sunshine Coast Big Day Out for Tourism Operators, is proudly supported by the following partners: Visit Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council, Tourism Noosa, Destination Gympie Region, Booking.com, Expedia, Experience Oz, Sunshine Coast Convention Centre and AV Partners.
FAST FACTS – SCouT 2019
- 103 tourism operators exhibited at SCouT 2019
- 160 volunteers from across the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Noosa, Moreton Bay and Brisbane regions attended the morning session
- 180 accommodation providers and industry professionals attended the afternoon session
- Guest speakers on the day included former Executive Director of Lonely Planet Gus Balbontin, Deputy Chairperson of New Zealand Maori Tourism Daniel Walker, Customer Frame Co-Founders Peter Turner and Sueanne Carr and The Sovereign Hill Museums Association Marketing Director Jennifer Ganske