Tourism gets royal treatment as royals prepare to visit
WHEN he sent letters to Kensington Palace inviting Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to the Fraser Coast, mayor George Seymour never imagined he'd actually get his wish.
As it turns out, the newly-wed Duke and Duchess of Sussex are heading to Fraser Island to see why it was chosen by Prince Charles earlier this year to be added to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Initiative.
The conservation program aims to preserve the natural heritage of forests across the Commonwealth by raising awareness of indigenous forests and allowing participating countries to share best practice for forest conservation.
The island visit is built around the schedule of the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for injured and ill veterans founded by Prince Harry which will be held in Sydney.
Their Royal Highnesses will also visit Melbourne, Dubbo, Fiji, Tonga, Wellington, Abel Tasman, Auckland and Rotorua in New Zealand.
While Cr Seymour admits his letters are unlikely to have influenced the couple's decision to choose Fraser Island as their only Queensland stop, he feels the publicity their mere presence in the region will attract is the next best thing.
He hopes it will spark fresh international interest in not only the island but our top mainland tourist attractions highlighted in the official invitations.
Documents obtained by the Chronicle reveal Cr Seymour wrote to royal officials in August, a month ahead of their royal tour announcement on Monday, extending an invitation to visit Maryborough's Gallipoli to Armistice memorial and the birthplace of Mary Poppins Author PL Travers.
"Opened on July 21 by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and myself, it (the memorial) has been hailed as world class," the letter reads.
"I believe it is incomparable in connecting today's citizens to the personal experiences of men and women in World War I.
"A sound and light tribute is now being developed. We expect its completion to coincide with the end of the Invictus Games and would be delighted to have the commissioning timed for any date that could fit with your Australian schedule."
Cr Seymour's letter also details the work being done on transforming the London-linked Mary Poppins and plugs whale watching off the coast of Hervey Bay.
"Maryborough prides itself as a city of storytellers," the letter reads.
"The building will be transformed into a PL Travers Story Bank Museum dedicated to encouraging creative reading and writing for young people."
Yesterday, Cr Seymour said the kind of tourism promotion the pending visit would bring "can't be measured".
Cr Seymour said the council would be "actively working with Fraser Coast Tourism and Events and local businesses to maximise this opportunity".