Best job Ben is bigging up Queensland in NZ

Tue 23 Mar 

Best job Ben is bigging up Queensland in NZ

By Roy Weavers

Queensland Tourism Ambassador Ben Southall was the face of a Queensland trade mission to New Zealand over this last weekend to drum up business for the state's tourism operators, Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said today.


Mr Lawlor said Ben, who was Tourism Queensland's Caretaker for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef in 2009, was joining more than 50 Queensland tourism operators to attend OZTalk 2010 in Auckland from 19-21 March.


"This partnership event between Tourism Australia, Tourism Queensland and other Australian states is the biggest travel expo of its kind in New Zealand and is in its ninth year," Mr Lawlor said.


"As part of his ambassadorial duties, Ben will be busy promoting Queensland at OZTalk and his schedule includes an appearance on breakfast television and talking about his favourite Queensland experiences to the local press.


"Ben achieved iconic status in New Zealand during the Best Job in the World campaign so it's wonderful to have him over there reinforcing to Kiwis what a great place Queensland is to visit."


Mr Lawlor said OZTalk presented a prime opportunity for Queensland's tourism regions and individual operators to sell their products and services directly to New Zealand's key travel agents and wholesalers.


"Of about 140 Australian representatives attending, I'm delighted that the Queensland contingent will make up 40 percent of the total product being presented to the New Zealanders," he said.


"The event follows Tourism Queensland's recent $400,000 "Find yourself the best holiday in the world" campaign, staged in conjunction with Jetstar, which aimed to encourage more Kiwis to visit Queensland.


"OZTalk also provides the Queensland tourism industry with an opportunity to promote the introduction of twice-weekly Pacific Blue air services from Auckland to Cairns from 23 March."


Mr Lawlor said the first two days of OZTalk would enable Queensland operators and regions, including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays and Tropical North Queensland, to sell product directly to travel agents and wholesalers.


"On the third day, OZTalk becomes a public travel expo with about 7,000 potential holidaymakers expected to walk through the door," he said.


"This gives Queensland regions and operators the opportunity to sell Queensland as a holiday destination directly to the New Zealand public.


"Our state will be hard to miss at this expo with Tourism Queensland providing a high profile stand decked out with Queensland imagery and branding.


"Ben will be the face of this stand, meeting and greeting Kiwis and talking about his Queensland experiences."


Tourism Queensland Acting CEO Steve McRoberts said New Zealand was Queensland's biggest source of international visitors.


"More people from New Zealand visit Queensland th an from any other international market," Mr McRoberts said.


"398,000 New Zealanders came to Queensland in the year ended December 2009 and spent $531 million to their trips to Queensland.


"OZTalk is an important way of ensuring the state's profile as a holiday destination stays top of mind in New Zealand and encourages more bookings for Queensland operators."