Campaign promises to shine a light on all pillars of tourism

By Mitch Gaynor

HINTERLAND Tourism is rolling out the welcome mat to build on its share of the $100 million Sunshine Coast wedding industry with a new campaign and key collaborations across the arts and events sectors.

The organisation launched its Most Welcoming campaign on May 17 at The Old Dairy, Maleny in front of 130 tourism operators and guests including Glass House MP Andrew Powell, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel and Sunshine Coast Council CEO Emma Thomas.

A slick video highlighting the region’s natural assets will be complemented by a digital e-book that showcases the regions products and services, while collaborations with Arts Connect and the Rangebow Festival aim to broaden the overall tourism experience.

Hinterland Tourism’s Kerry Brown said ‘Most Welcoming’ riffs off’s award to Maleny and Montville as the most welcome places in Australia while showcasing “every pillar of the tourism industry” in the area.

“What I love about it, is it embraces everybody in hinterland tourism,” Kerry told guests.

 “Most of our accommodation up here are privately owned operators and when you arrive you are talking to the owner who wants to ensure you have the best time,” she said at the launch.

The e-book will feature all Hinterland Tourism members including weddings, restaurants, accommodation and experiences.

Hinterland Tourism also announced a new partnership with Arts Connect with the collaboration aiming to enhance tourists’ experiences in the region.

Arts Connect President, Gretchen Keelty, said the collaboration with tourism and the arts was a natural fit and through programs such as the highly successful Sculpture on the Edge event, would be mutually beneficial to both industries.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Hinterland Tourism. We are better together,” Gretchen said.

The main part of the program, which overall hopes to attract 10,000 people, will this year be held at Flaxton Gardens with a host of other related activities planned across the hinterland.

“Our aim this year is to collaborate and create opportunities for venues to partner with us including artists’ talks and curatorial panels,” Gretchen said.

Gretchen said her long-term vision was to see the arts “contribute in a significant way to the local economy”.

“With having all these other events it gives people more reason to come and stay and through collaborating we are .”

Sculpture on the Edge returns from November 19 to December 4 this year.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel said the hinterland was “ticking all the boxes” for tourists but it was critical to market the products and services.

“Hinterland Tourism has been really proactive in understanding we have to go out and find people to come here,” he said.

 “They really want a place where they can have a lot of experiences and where they can feel like a local … and the hinterland product has everything that tourists are looking for.”

Andrew Powell said it was important to highlight that the hinterland was more than weddings.

“We are art, food, primary produce, cafes and restaurants. We’re the lot,” he said.

Main image: Kerry Brown

Andrew Powell and Martin Duncan
Gretchen Keelty
Ari and Joane from The Old Dairy Maleny