'We're at risk of being bypassed': Chamber president
HERVEY Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook claims the Fraser Coast is in danger of 'being bypassed' by places like Gympie and Bundaberg if the region does not develop a stronger tourism and investment reach.
Ms Holebrook said it was a major issue that appeared from feedback at a Chamber of Commerce & Industry for Queensland meeting discussing the 'state of the region' with other industry leaders in the Wide Bay region.
One of the key issues, she stated, was getting the name of the Fraser Coast out there.
"With Gympie and Bundaberg on the Bruce Hwy, tourists can easily bypass the Fraser Coast. It's more of an issue now, and it will always be with us until we have a firm foothold Queensland-wide as a significant place in its own right,” Ms Holebrook said.
"People know where Fraser Island is, but I don't think the biosphere or heritage of the region is well-known.
"We can't expect Queensland Tourism to rely on that. We need to be out there, pushing this place.
"We can't rest on our laurels and think we're well-known enough.”
Ms Holebrook said the region has the potential to be a major hub for sport, health and wellness with the rollout of programs like the NDIS, the blooming sport scene and the potential introduction of government departments to the region.
But part of the solution involved making sure the message was pushed out over all forms of media, with community leaders needing to lead the way with promoting the region.
"All the tourism people are working hard at making us better known, and pushing us further through,” she said.
"People should be pushing out what the Fraser Coast is all about. I think we need to be better at using social media in a positive manner.
"We were a sleepy little hollow, and one of the 'best kept secrets' - we thrived on that. But in this day and age, we can't afford to be that anymore.”