International tourists (from left) Maria Schnider, Ivan Schnider and Luiza Ribeiro consider some of the region’s attractions at the Capricorn Region Tourism Information Centre on Gladstone Road yesterday.
International tourists (from left) Maria Schnider, Ivan Schnider and Luiza Ribeiro consider some of the region’s attractions at the Capricorn Region Tourism Information Centre on Gladstone Road yesterday. CHRIS ISON CI

Steak, crocs, Caves draw tourists

STEAK, crocodiles and The Caves were what lured Swiss tourist Ivan Schnider into Rockhampton yesterday.

It’s these iconic attractions that have contributed to the Beef Capital making the top 10 most-visited destinations in Queensland for 2009.

Leading online accommodation website Wotif.com yesterday revealed the most-visited places in the Sunshine State with Rockhampton coming in at number eight above Port Douglas and Hervey Bay.

Adventure teen Ivan, who came to Australia to learn English, arrived in Rockhampton yesterday with mum Maria and five Brazilian travellers after visiting the Sunshine Coast on the way to North Queensland.

As the 19-year-old stopped into the Capricorn Region Tourist Information Centre he was raring to check out the sites of the region during an overnight visit.

“I have only seen crocodiles in the zoo. I like adventures and want to get close to crocodiles and big caves,” Ivan said.

Ivan said he had heard Rockhampton had the best steak in Australia, so a juicy T-bone was a must during his quick visit.

After already seeing the second most-visited place in Queensland for 2009, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast (number three), Ivan said next stop was the Whitsundays.

Chief executive for Capricorn Tourism Mary Carroll yesterday was brainstorming 2010 marketing strategies for the region with her tourism team at the Capricorn Coast.

Ms Carroll said it was no surprise Rockhampton made the top 10 for 2009 with the major tourist drawcard, Beef Australia, attracting thousands of visitors from all over Australia and international guests.

She said there were big plans to boost the tourism industry across the region this year including the expansion of online marketing through websites and social networking.

An exciting new tourism incentive for the region this year is the February launch of a local loyalty card providing thousands of dollars of tourism and retail savings for visiting friends and relatives.

With big events like the 2010 Gemfest near Emerald and MotorMania in July, Ms Carroll said 2010 was looking like a big year for the tourism industry.

“If Rockhampton is successful in the NRL bid, this will be a huge boost to the industry in years to come,” she said.

Wotif’s general manager for brand marketing, Megan Magill, said although they were unable to give figures as to how many bookings there were for Rockhampton, there was a major boost in airfare sales from Brisbane and Sydney.

“Rockhampton is a regular centre for business travellers and with events going on all year, there were a lot more flights into the city,” Ms Magill said.

She said 2010 saw a lot more travellers holidaying closer to home.

TOP SPOTS

Queensland’s complete Top 10 Destinations in 2009 were:

1. Brisbane

2. Gold Coast

3. Sunshine Coast

4. Cairns

5. Townsville

6. Mackay

7. Airlie Beach

8. Rockhampton

9. Port Douglas

10. Hervey Bay



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