by MATT HARRIS
A MEETING of key minds in the tourism industry took place at the Gladstone Exhibition Convention Centre this week with the aim to educate stakeholders.
Networking was the main benefit of the round-table discussion which allowed the Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd, Tourism and Events Queensland and other industry bodies to come together.
Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd CEO Darryl Branthwaite said the TEQ event saw representatives from local industry turn out in big numbers.
"The whole idea was to get operators and heads of departments all in the same room and hear plans that TEQ have for tourism markets on a domestic and international level," Mr Branthwaite said.
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"People broke out into groups and had chats with specialists to hear from the horse's mouth what's happening. It's a really good concept to have a one-on-one chat to people in decision-making roles."
Some of those department heads included representatives from domestic marketing, small business, events, public relations, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.
TEQ group executive of destinations and global partnerships Rick Hamilton said the meeting attracted some of Gladstone's big industry players.
"We've got the GAPDL here and key industry from around the district," Mr Hamilton said.
"There's about 40 to 45 people here so it was a good turn out for local industry so hopefully they see some value in it.
"We want to make sure Tourism and Events Queensland are connected with industry."
That connection also stems into the work that GAPDL is doing to promote the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a major tourism drawcard for Gladstone region.
"What Darryl does here with the Capricorn, Bundaberg and Southern Great Barrier Reef is really important and we are a major advocator of that," Mr Hamilton added.
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"People might know where Bundaberg is because of the rum, but what else do they know? Under the Southern Great Barrier Reef it's more impactful.
"Queensland is a big state and every destination and region has specific challenges and opportunities, so we just want to make sure that we are leveraging it all and understanding what's going on from a local level.
"So this was an opportunity to bring some experts in from TEQ and give the industry an idea of what's going on."
The SGBR encompasses islands such as Heron, Lady Musgrave, Lady Elliot and Great Keppel.