Noosa Heads.
Noosa Heads. Warren Lynam

Noosa lures adventure travellers

NOOSA is set to tap into an important visitor market with the recent launch of Tourism Noosa's adventure travel and backpacker website

The website is aimed at adventure travellers and backpackers from Australia and overseas, with information on activities, places to explore, where to eat, drink and party, and where to stay in the Noosa region.

Tourism Noosa general manager, Diane Ainsworth said the new website, which complements Noosa's website reflects the diversity of activities on offer in Noosa.

"It shows Noosa is an action-packed and fun destination.

"It's a chance to let this section of the traveller market know about the region's natural beauty and the many ways to explore it in a fun way, from water sports and sky diving to great places to eat, shop, party or chill-out and relax.

"Adventure travellers and backpackers of any age who are on the eastern seaboard journey from Sydney through to Cairns can see the value in getting off the beaten track and discovering Noosa."

Ms Ainsworth said the website was another chance to showcase Noosa's green credentials which received an international tick of approval with UNESCO's declaration of the Noosa Biosphere Reserve - Queensland's first - in 2007, and the neighbouring Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve.

"Noosa is the gateway to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island and the Noosa Everglades, which travellers can explore on guided tours or self-guided camping and canoe trips.

"Fraser Island has become one of the must-do experiences for travellers, especially from European countries who are already aware of it before they even get here. Many people now from around the world are looking for an Australian adventure experience with a difference and they'll find plenty to do in Noosa," Ms Ainsworth said.

The website, which was showcased at the recent Adventure Travel & Backpacker Expo in Sydney, features images, videos, blogs and information on how to get to Noosa. It was developed in consultation with tourism industry members who are involved with Tourism Noosa's Backpack Cluster Group. The interactive site taps into a range of new media and has direct links to operators, its own facebook feed where travellers can upload photos and comments about their experiences, and to flickr, Twitter and Noosa's YouTube channel.

"The website has direct access to the five beach web cams at Noosa River, Main Beach, Sunshine Beach, Peregian Beach and Coolum, and has travel information on how to get here," Ms Ainsworth said.

Tourism Noosa members from Halse Lodge, Nomads Noosa and Noosa Flashpackers backpacker accommodation, Kanu Kapers, Skydive Ramblers, The Discovery Group and Adventure Sports Kite Surf Australia joined Tourism Noosa at the Adventure Travel & Backpacker Expo where the website and facebook site attracted hundreds of "fans".

"The expo was a great success in terms of showcasing the broad diversity of activities on offer, especially the eco-friendly experiences and locations for people who want to enjoy the natural environment and outdoor activities," Ms Ainsworth said.

Also helping putting Noosa on the adventure travel map, Tourism Noosa and the historic Halse Lodge at Noosa Heads hosted accommodation and dinner for 50 Queensland adventure travel agents on December 1 and 2 as part of the Tourism Queensland and Website Travel youth and backpacker roadshow travelling from Cairns to Melbourne.

Halse Lodge Backpacker Hostel manager and Backpacking Queensland secretary Drew Pearson said while the backpacking industry and tourism in general had suffered in the past 18 months, it was pleasing to see the industry come together with Tourism Noosa's help to promote Noosa as a prominent backpacker destination.

"It is a great reflection of the success of the industry in Noosa that Website Travel's roadshow has chosen to come here.

"It's a great opportunity for all of us to grow, join together and enhance what is really the front of tourism and that is the young travellers having their first experience, and especially an experience of Noosa Heads," Mr Pearson said.

Ms Ainsworth said Queensland welcomed 251,000 international and domestic backpackers and youth travellers in the year ending June 2011.

According to Backpacking Queensland, the State's peak backpacking and independent travel industry body, the backpacking industry is worth $1 billion to Queensland's economy.

"The adventure travel and backpacker market is a growing one and it's important because young people travelling now will return to a destination over their lifetime with their young families.

"It's not just the young travellers though. Over the past year we've seen significant increases in the number of nights spent in the Noosa region by visitors from UK, Germany and Europe which are the top three markets for international backpackers to Queensland. The most popular activities for German visitors to Queensland last year were outdoor and nature-based, so there's a real opportunity to tap into that market and show them and all our visitors just what's on offer in Noosa," Ms Ainsworth said.

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