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Update from Visit Sunshine Coast                                                     View this email in your browser
We are now into our second week of the school holidays and after a slow start it was encouraging to hear from operators that things picked up a little through last minute bookings. This is no surprise given the “wait and see” approach of many visitors who remain more cautious than ever about their travel plans and remain glued to the media on daily COVID-19 updates.
 
However, we remain a long way from the visitor numbers we achieved prior to COVID-19 for the September school holidays, largely as a result of our major interstate and international markets remaining out of bounds, and our drive market continuing to be cautious about travel. We can see this in our forward bookings that are not where we would expect them to be in a ‘normal’ year for the Sunshine Coast, and down almost 20% when compared to before COVID-19. To close this gap, we continue our campaigns and promotions in our drive market as well as in South Australia, which remains open to Queensland. We know it’s more important than ever to keep driving this demand for the region.
 
Tourism Research Australia has released the National Visitor Statistics to the year ending June 2021. They showed that we have caught back some ground toward pre-COVID19 levels with expenditure up to $2.8 billion and visitation up 17% year on year (YOY) to 3.8 million. Of our sectors, encouragingly domestic holiday visitation was up a whopping 70.8% YOY to 1.9 million. However, other sectors didn’t fare as well with business events down 17.7% to 215,000, followed by Visiting Friends and Relatives down 0.1% to 965,000.
View the snapshot here.
 
On the weekend, the State Government announced further support packages for tourism businesses continuing to struggle through the pandemic. To find out more refer to the article below.
 
I wanted to finish on a positive note by congratulating all the finalists in the Sunshine Coast Business Awards. In particular, a shout-out to our members in the categories of Festivals and Events, Accommodation, Experiences and Hospitality and I wish them all the best ahead of the Gala Awards Night on 13 November. Finally, mark Friday 26 November in your diaries for our AGM and end of year Christmas networking function. Keep an eye out for more details to follow.

Matt Stoeckel
CEO

Share random acts of kindness

 It has been Friendship Month during September, and to spread the love, Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) has encouraged travellers to nominate a friend known for their random acts of kindness. This social media promotion selects 50 nominees at random to receive a ‘box of sunshine’ packed with Sunshine Coast produce including chocolate, fudge, beer and ginger.
Find out more
here.

Latest COVID-19 update
 
- There has been community cases located in Queensland. Stay up to date with exposure sites and  you can view the latest roadmap here. Face mask restrictions have changed for Brisbane, Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast (including if you have visited these areas). You can display this poster if you have guests arriving from those areas.

- The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments have announced further support
packages for Queensland’s major tourism and hospitality businesses. One of the new programs will target iconic tourism attractions and there is also a second round for small, medium and large tourism and hospitality businesses as part of the Tourism and Hospitality Sector Hardship Program. Applications for both grant schemes will open in October.
Find out more.
 
- Sunshine Coast residents will have additional access to the COVID-19 vaccine, with the Caloundra Indoor Stadium returning as a community vaccination location from Friday 8 October. It will be open from 9am-5pm, seven days a week until early December.
Bookings are recommended.
Member news!

Looking to share your business news? From Christmas party venues or new product offerings to updated menus, upcoming events or good news stories;  click here to share your updates!

Scandinavian-inspired luxury 

Scandi at Maleny is a new two-bedroom, two-bathroom modular cabin that offers views of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland valleys. With a focus on sustainability, the property includes an indoor fireplace and fully equipped kitchen and outdoor barbecue.

Membership renewals ending this week
We will wrap up the membership renewals for 2021/2022 at the end of this week (1 October). If you have not renewed your membership, all benefits will cease. If you need any assistance with renewing or want to check your membership status, please reach out to members@visitsunshinecoast.com.

Update your ATDW listing
It is important that you keep your business website listing on Queensland.com and Visitunshinecoast.com current and accurate. For example, do you have disability access and want to let future guests know? Perhaps you have new images or would like to share a deal? Check and refresh your listing now.   
Sunshine Coast in the media

From Australian Traveller to the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Mail Australiathe Sunshine Coast is continuing to make national headlines. 

We also welcomed Queensland travel show 7 Weekender to the region last week to film another dedicated Sunshine Coast episode that will air in October leading up to the summer holiday period. The episode will showcase some of the region’s ‘hidden gems’ giving Queenslanders fresh incentive to plan a Sunshine Coast escape. 

Trade talks


- Delegates from 65 of the Sunshine Coast’s major tourism businesses gathered for the first-ever Real Talks event to hear leaders from the aviation, accommodation and trade sectors discuss how the region’s tourism operators could best position themselves for a renaissance in travel in the year ahead. VSC will hold Real Talks regularly with the aim to help businesses prepare for the critical priorities ahead.

- VSC in partnership with Paull Travel in Canada presented at a consumer webinar to over 50 of their clients who have a real love for Australia and are a long stay market, spending anywhere from one to three months in destination.

With the Singapore market still pegged as one of the first markets Australia will resume travel with, VSC met with TEQ’s South East Asia team to discuss opportunities for the future.
Klook are still Singapore’s biggest online travel agent for tours and activities and now is the perfect time to ensure your product is listed. If you are interested in contracting with Klook, please contact trade@visitsunshinecoast.com
Buy Local, Win Local 
 

 Over the next month, when you BUY LOCAL, you can go in the draw to WIN LOCAL. To enter the weekly draw, simply spend $10 or more at a business located within the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area and upload your receipt to buylocalsunshinecoast.com.au. Tourism businesses can sign up for free to the directory to promote your services.
Find out more.

Lillie's learnings

 Our Social Media Coordinator Lillie recommends you share your COVID safe plan on social media! This is a great way to let your customers know you’re keeping them safe. You could create a fun reel, display an infographic or share a real time story. If you have any questions, please email lillie.gillam@visitsunshinecoast.com and to be featured on our VSC social media, please submit your post here for consideration.
In brief
  • Tourism Australia’s next industry webinar will be held on Friday 8 October and will include an update on activities in business events as well as details about an upcoming domestic gifting campaign that will run in the lead up to the summer holidays. Register here.
     
  • A FREE webinar, Mental health support for small tourism and events business owners is an initiative of the business events industry. Register now for the event to be held from 11:30am - 12:15pm (AEDT) on Monday 11 October.
     
  • The SHINE Business Women’s Conference will be held on the Sunshine Coast on Friday 22 October. Registrations are now open.
     
  • The Sunshine Coast Open House Program to be held 23-24 October is now live. 
     
  • The World Heritage Area within the Great Sandy National Park on Fraser Island has been renamed K’gari, the original Butchulla people’s name for the island meaning "paradise". Find out more.

1-3 October
Caloundra Music Festival
Kings Beach

2 October
Mary Valley Rattler 3rd Birthday
Gympie


9 - 10 October
Sunshine Coast Marathon
Alexandra Headlands
 
16 October
Blackall 100
Mapleton

23 Oct
SC MTB Festival
Landsborough
 

24 October
Trail Run Australia
Landsborough

 

27-31 October
Noosa Triathlon
Noosa Heads

29-30 October
Halloween Night Market Festival
NightQuarter - Birtinya

31 October
Buskers by the Lake
Bokarina
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