Tourism Spotlight event highlights ways to bring more visitors to Moreton Bay

Published 12:00pm 8 November 2023

Tourism Spotlight event highlights ways to bring more visitors to Moreton Bay
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Tourism operators from Moreton Bay have learnt new ways to grow their businesses and reach more customers thanks to a special Tourism Spotlight event hosted by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT), in partnership with the City of Moreton Bay. 

Titled Getting Moreton Bay Trade Ready, the event highlighted how local tourism operators can prepare their business for the global stage by forging strong relationships with distributors like tour operators, wholesalers, online platforms and retail agents.

Speakers at the event included MBRIT CEO Natassia Wheeler, Success Matrix Managing Director Amanda Kruse, Shorex Australia’s Managing Director and Founder James Coughlan, Big Red Group Market Manager Jacinda Biles and Queensland’s Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development, the Honourable Michael Healy.

With the City of Moreton Bay attracting more than 4.2 million visitors annually, MBRIT CEO Natassia Wheeler says the networking event was a great way for tourism operators to work together and think outside the box to attract more visitors domestically and internationally.

“Being trade-ready is the gateway to unlocking the full potential of our thriving tourism industry in the City of Moreton Bay. It's about positioning ourselves to not only cater to domestic visitors but also to seamlessly serve global travellers and travel intermediaries. By doing so, we're setting the stage for significant growth and economic opportunities,” Natassia said.

“In today's interconnected world, the importance of being trade-ready cannot be overstated. This readiness signifies that we're discoverable, bookable, and enticing on an international scale. It allows us to connect with travellers worldwide and ensures that our region is on the radar of travel agents, online platforms, and wholesalers.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to position ourselves as the newest region in the tourism industry. By being trade-ready, we not only enhance our regional visibility but also have the chance to elevate our international appeal. This is a game-changing moment for Moreton Bay as we work collectively to increase bookings and expand our customer base.

"Trade readiness means that our local businesses can diversify their distribution channels. They can tap into networks that might otherwise be inaccessible and connect with customers they hadn't reached before. This offers the possibility of expanding their services and increasing their bookings.”

For more information about an upcoming Getting Trade Ready Workshop, see below.

Tourism Spotlight event highlights ways to bring more visitors to Moreton Bay
Above: Success Matrix Managing Director Amanda Kruse.

Importance of knowing your products

During the presentation, Amanda Kruse, who has more than 30 years of tourism experience as an operator, stakeholder and trainer, spoke about how important was is to know your product and what your business is capable of.

“For a lot of you, your business is coming in from within a 200km or 400km radius. What I want to help you with is expanding that reach and looking at further footprints in Australia as well as internationally,” Amanda said.

“To do that, we need to look at what is attracting people to the region and what their needs are.

“If you can look at what you have, what you can offer and potentially bundle that into a nice package with a trade partner, you are going to get lots more exposure.

“You can partner with local event companies, hotels or even other tourism operators near you to provide an amazing experience that will benefit the region.

“You don’t have to do it alone – look at different websites and service providers who can help you build your brand. Ask them what their customers are looking for and how your product can work with them.

“People are extremely clever today – they will research things online or in brochures from the other side of the world, and this is just another way of getting their attention.”

Queensland’s Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Michael Healy said Moreton Bay was in a great position to attract visitors who already had their eyes on visiting Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

“One of the great things about Moreton Bay is you already have a huge market on your doorstep, with the Brisbane domestic and international airport nearby,” Michael said.

“The region has some amazing selling points – you just need to look at that point of differentiation and play to your strengths.

“You have beautiful beaches here, amazing restaurants and unique experiences – these are all things people want when they travel somewhere new.

“By looking at different ways you can engage with people, and what mediums are working in the travel space, you can greatly expand your business and bring in more visitors.”

One example of an online trade partner is the Big Red Group, which is the largest experience network in Australia and New Zealand. It is home to RedBalloon, Adrenaline and Experience Oz.

Big Red Group Market Manager Jacinda Biles shared with tourism operators the success of the business and how it is helping tourism operators across the country expand their footprint.

“We work with more than 3000 suppliers and currently we are delivering an experience every 18 seconds across all our brands,” Jacinda said.

“Due to demand, we are on track to deliver an experience every second by 2030, which is very exciting.

“When you partner with us, you know you are partnering with an Australian owned and operated company.”

Tourism Spotlight event highlights ways to bring more visitors to Moreton Bay
Above: Dozens of tourism operators from across the region attended the networking event. 

Positive feedback

The Tourism Spotlight event attracted local tourism operators from across the city who were keen to learn more.

Jenny Fletcher from Running Creek Camping said it’s great to have MBRIT’s support in growing the region.

“The guest speakers where very insightful and a real value to listen to. The whole afternoon was very good,” Jenny says.

“It was wonderful to see the MBRIT team's vision for the Moreton Bay area, although not everyone always sees the big picture. I have been one of them, but after Wednesday, I can honestly say I get it now, and I can see myself and my team being a part of it.

“Thank you for shining the light.”

Getting Trade Ready workshop

Tourism operators who are keen to know more about Getting Trade Ready are invited to attend a workshop on November 30 to learn more about becoming trade-ready, hosted by MRBIT in partnership with the City of Moreton Bay.

Following the program, there will be an opportunity for mentoring over a six-month program aiming to showcase Moreton Bay’s tourism operators to a greater distribution audience by building travel trade ready products that will continue building upon the destinations domestic market and introduce targeted international opportunities for future growth.

"As we navigate the post-pandemic world, the travel trade distribution system becomes an invaluable key to resilience and success. It's an opportunity for us to adapt, innovate, and thrive in the evolving tourism landscape. Join us at the Trade Ready Workshop and embark on a transformative journey that can shape the future of Moreton Bay's tourism industry,” Natassia said.

A full-day workshop will be held on Thursday, November 30 at the MBRIT Head Office, 433 Elizabeth Ave, Kippa-Ring.

Amanda Kruse will return to Moreton Bay to work as the program facilitator.

Following the one-day workshop, an International Round Table will be held in early 2024, followed by one-on-one mentoring.

This mentoring and trade development program is fully funded by MBRIT, thanks to the support of the City of Moreton Bay.

For more information or to register your attendance, visit the MBRIT website.

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