Gladstone to host state's biggest tourism conference
GLADSTONE will host the state's leading tourism and events forum later this year after the Southern Great Barrier Reef region's 3.4 per cent spike in visitors.
For the first time in Gladstone's tourism history, the DestinationQ18 Events Conference will come to Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre on August 8, bringing with it big-wigs in tourism and events, industry groups, businesses, local councils and other stakeholders.
Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited chief executive Darryl Branthwaite said the forum would be an economic boost for the region.
"Last year it was held in Toowoomba and that town had hundreds of people come along," Mr Branthwaite said.
"Whenever you have a large number of people coming to the town they are going to spend money here, either on accommodation or food, but it's a huge boost."
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Central Queensland was chosen to host the $780 million event because of its 3.4 per cent increase in overnight visitor expenditure to more than $1.1 billion in the year ending December 2017.
Mr Branthwaite said there was 18 months of planning to bring the conference to Gladstone.
"It goes to show the town is capable of holding a large capacity of people and entertaining them," he said.
"We've shown what Gladstone can do after holding the first NRL game here earlier this year as well as the yacht race and the Boyne Tannum HookUp."
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said the forum was a valuable opportunity for Queensland's events industry.
The event will include insights from guest speakers, Q and A sessions, panel discussions and networking breaks.
Mr Butcher said having the event in Gladstone was a vote of confidence in the local tourism industry.