Best Job Ben takes Queensland to Japan
Thu 18 Feb
Queensland Tourism Ambassador and former Best Job in the World Island Caretaker Ben Southall touched down in Japan today to promote the Gold Coast, Tourism Minister and Peter Lawlor announced.
Mr Lawlor said Ben would speak to a range of Japanese media and travel industry and welcome them to the region.
"During Ben's tour of Japan he will meet with influential business groups and conduct presentations at key consumer events in Tokyo, Osaka and Shizuoka," Mr Lawlor said.
"The visit will see Ben team up with Tourism Queensland's Tourism Ambassador in Japan, Mieko Kobayashi, and together they will share their first-hand experiences of Queensland."
Fellow Gold Coast MPs Peta-Kaye Croft and Christine Smith said one of the key components of the trip would include promoting the Gold Coast Marathon at the Tokyo Marathon Expo.
"Both Ben and Mieko competed in last year's Gold Coast Marathon which attracted nearly 24,000 participants, a record num ber of entrants for the event and an 11 percent increase on the previous year," Ms Croft said.
"The Gold Coast Marathon is a key activity on Queensland's events calendar and an extremely popular event with Japanese visitors," added Mrs Smith.
Mr Lawlor said other highlights of Ben's visit would include an appearance at the Apple Store in Shibuya, Tokyo where he would have the opportunity to promote Tourism Queensland's iPhone application.
"Tourism Queensland was the first state tourism organisation to develop an iPhone application that can provide detailed maps and tourism product information," he said.
"During the application period for the Best Job in the World, more than 143,000 visits to www.islandreefjob.com were registered from smartphones, 86 percent of which were iPhones."
Mr Lawlor said Ben had spent the past six months bringing the world to Queensland through his blogs, tweets and media interviews and now he's taking his firs t-hand experiences in Queensland to the world.
"During his visit Ben will also speak with Japanese tourism organisations and university students and undertake a range of interviews with key media to talk about his activities as the Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
"While a range of factors such as the global financial crisis, flight cuts and the impact of swine flu have affected the number of Japanese visitors to Queensland in the past year, the State Government remains committed to the market.
"Japan is the Gold Coast's second largest international market with 113,000 visitors travelling to the state in the year ending September 2009.
"There are currently daily flights operating from Tokyo and Osaka to the Gold Coast which equates to more than 3000 seats and potential visitors each week.
"These are in addition to the daily Tokyo-Brisbane flight operated by Japan Airlines that has brought Japanese visitors to the Gold Coast for more than 20 years.
"We are committed to working with the Japanese travel industry and airlines to ensure Queensland remains one of the major destinations of choice for Japanese travellers."
Mr Lawlor said Ben and Mieko's publicity tour of Japan would help to strengthen the Gold Coast's exposure in a key international market and entice more Japanese visitors to the region.
"We expect thousands of Japanese people will make a detour from their daily commute to catch a glimpse of Ben and hear about his experiences as the Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
"Mieko also has a natural enthusiasm for Queensland, is immensely popular in Japan and well known to media, who are keen to cover her activities as a Queensland tourism ambassador.
"The Best Job in the World had a huge following in Japan and has to date resulted in more than $400 million in global publicity for Queensland."
For mor e updates and details on Ben's work as a Queensland tourism ambassador visit - www.islandreefjob.com
For information on the Queensland Holidays iPhone application visit - http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au/travel-tools/iphone/iphone_home.cfm
Editors Comments: Let's hope this promotional tour gets the Japanese booking holidays to Queensland again. We have seen the biggest fall in arrivals from the Japanese market in the last 2 years so any efforts to regenerate this once abundant market must be a good thing. Go Ben....