French backpackers Bérengére Martin and Samantha Faucelli are visiting Rockhampton during their time in Australia rather than staying in the cities.
French backpackers Bérengére Martin and Samantha Faucelli are visiting Rockhampton during their time in Australia rather than staying in the cities. Kara Paradies

Campaign targets backpackers

FORGET the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Great Barrier Reef.

For French backpackers Samantha Faucelli and Bérengére Martin, Rockhampton, is the ultimate tourist destination.

"We don't like the city. Here there's no noise and no stress," Bérengére said.

The duo arrived in Rockhampton yesterday on a bus from Emerald, after spending the past week travelling across western Queensland.

"We wanted to experience the spirit of the outback," Samantha said.

But not all backpackers agree with the girls.

In Queensland, backpacker numbers have plummeted this year, with many travellers put off by concerns about bad weather and lack of jobs after the January floods.

To make matters worse, those that are coming to Queensland aren't moving from the cities.

Oz Experience, a hop-on, hop-off flexible bus touring system for international travellers, yesterday launched a campaign to tackle these myths and get backpackers "back" to Central Queensland.

Oz Experience operations director Tony Hopkins said the campaign was necessary to help local economies

"This campaign is about convincing backpackers that they don't need to spend all their time in Sydney or Melbourne, but get out there and explore the real Australia," he said.

Samantha and Bérengére said they were overwhelmed with the hospitality of Rockhampton people, even after being in the town for only a few hours.

"We got lost before and people were happy to come and help," Samantha said.

"Everyone is so smiley and friendly."

The girls will be staying in Rockhampton until Christmas.

"We'll be spending Christmas day in a good restaurant. French people love good food," Samantha said.



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