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Gold Coast invests in the Middle East

Gold Coast Tourism has been awarded US $37.9 million to promote its assets to five key overseas source markets, including the Middle East, over the next five years.

Gold Coast Tourism has been awarded US $37.9 million to promote its assets to five key overseas source markets, including the Middle East, over the next five years.

The funding boost has seen the tourism agency appoint a GCC representative, Dubai-based Mohamed Al Geziry Consultancy, to broaden the appeal of the Gold Coast and market attractions and areas of the region that the local market is yet to discover.

“Everyone here knows Surfers Paradise, but there is more to the Gold Coast than this,” explained Julie Muirhead, general manager, Mohamed Al Geziry Consultancy.

“We are also trying to move away from the Gold Coast being a three-month destination and to get more business during the rest of the year.”

Muirhead is currently focusing on educating the trade about what the Gold Coast has to offer in terms of accommodation, attractions and areas of interest.

“We are currently assessing the constraints there are in selling this destination and will then improve travel agent knowledge so they have the confidence to sell extended options,” she said. “We will do this very much in cooperation with Emirates Holidays and Dnata Holidays.”

The Middle East’s outbound MICE and corporate markets are also a key focus, as visitors to the Gold Coast to date tend to be leisure-orientated, said Muirhead.

Of the 55,500 visitors to Australia for the year ending June 2006, 22,755 (around 41%) visited the Gold Coast. The target is to achieve 15% growth per annum to 39,798 visitors from the Middle East, by 2010.

Gold Coast Tourism was allocated $3.6 million for 05/06. This amount will almost triple to $10.6 million for 06/07.

Other source countries on the agency’s hit list are India, China, New Zealand and Japan.

Muirhead recently appointed an account manager for Gold Coast tourism who kicked off the trade awareness campaign with a GCC roadshow last month.

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