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Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) in conjunction with Visit Sunshine Coast, Qantas and Tourism & Events Queensland will hold the 2016 Southern Queensland Inbound Workshop and Familiarisation on the Sunshine Coast from 1-6 March 2016.

Converging on the region, the event will attract 40 top tourism operators from across Southern Queensland and 40 of the most influential Inbound Tourism Operators (ITOs) from across the country. The ITOs will have the opportunity to meet leading tourism suppliers at a sales workshop today as they learn about new products, itineraries and destinations to promote to overseas visitors.

The program will give local ATEC members a valuable opportunity promote their product to some of Australia’s leading tour operators and boost their exposure to the international market.

“These events are a fantastic way for local tourism businesses to get in front of the tour operators who make choices about what product offerings they put forth to the international market, so it is a valuable opportunity for these business to really get out there and be seen,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said.

“As we saw in yesterday’s International Visitor Survey, our international visitors are increasingly looking to venture beyond the big cities to places like the Sunshine Coast with growing numbers visiting wineries, festivals, national parks and looking to engage in outdoor activities such as sailing, windsurfing and kayaking.

“With the international visitors now spending more than $36bn each year, these events are one of the best ways to ensure the benefits of our growing international visitor market flows through to regional areas.”

Visit Sunshine Coast Trade & International Manager, Rachel Meyer pictured at inbound workshop.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Ambrose was delighted the Sunshine Coast region was selected to play host for ATEC’s annual event, which attracts the industry’s leading tourism influencers.

“The Sunshine Coast has become a favourite destination for visitors from around the world – as close as New Zealand, as far away as Ireland and Texas.

“In fact, the latest International Visitor Survey figures show that markets such as America, the UK and many European destinations are booming.

“Showcasing our rich diversity of product as well as new attractions, restaurants and activities will pay long-term dividends for Sunshine Coast operators.”

“We are pleased to welcome and support ATEC’s Southern Queensland Inbound initiative with event coordination, pre/post familiarisation visits, as well as attending the inbound workshop as a seller. Visit Sunshine Coast, in conjunction with Fraser Coast Opportunities, will also hold a gala dinner to showcase the flavours of Australia’s Nature Coast.”

Overall, the Sunshine Coast attracted 251,000 international visitors in the year ending December 2015, according to the IVS statistics released today.

The American market was up 14%, with the Sunshine Coast growing well above the national average of 9.4%. The success from across the Pacific came on the back of the ‘Bindi factor’ – the success of local hero, Bindi Irwin, in the USA version of Dancing with the Stars, during which she regularly spruiked her Sunshine Coast home.

The UK market was up 3.7% and remained the Sunshine Coast’s largest international source market, ahead of New Zealand, which was steady. Other stand-out performances were the Scandinavia region (up by 6.9%) and France (up 44%).

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