The organisation that helped turn Moreton Bay into a $1 billion tourism powerhouse will guide the region’s destination management, tourism services and events over the next three years.
Mayor Peter Flannery congratulated Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT) on winning the competitive contracts but has warned the task ahead is not for the fainthearted.
“Every decision we make now will determine our region’s success when the influx of international tourists descends on Brisbane for the 2032 Olympics,” he says.
“Awarding these contracts today is the start of an Olympic journey to make Moreton Bay an unmissable destination in our own right with new and exciting experiences.
“We simply cannot allow tourism dollars to go driving past our spectacular hinterland or beachside destinations in favour of other coasts, our region needs to see this as a coming-of-age moment.
“Before COVID hit we were enjoying a golden era in tourism that was tipped to keep shining for years to come - with MBRIT successfully growing our tourism economy to $1 billion and overseeing an incredible increase in visitation numbers of around 4.5 million tourists a year.”
MBRIT secured both the ‘Destination Management and Tourism Services’ contract and the ‘Regional Awareness, Price and Attractive Lifestyle’ tender.
Mayor Flannery says this will ensure the continuity of iconic events for locals like the Moreton Bay Food & Wine Festival, Kids Fest, Caboolture Festival, and many more.
“In fact, we’ll be increasing the number of events to bring more vibrancy to our region, with 20 new smaller events to be delivered in towns and suburbs across the region,” he says.
“Personally, I think our greatest offering is our natural environment, and we will need MBRIT’s strategic oversight to realise the full potential of this enormous opportunity.
“No other Council in the country that borders a state capital has as much greenspace and farmland as Moreton Bay does - how do we better protect and promote this?
“We are home to the most successful koala breeding program in the country - how can we use this to become Australia’s premier koala destination?
“Our dams are perfect for freshwater sports activities and just minutes from the Brisbane CBD - how can we unlock this potential?
“We boast dozens of hilltop lookouts and hinterland trails but there’s no way to properly appreciate these views - how do we make them the most instagrammable destinations in SEQ? I ask these questions rhetorically to challenge tourism companies, eco-operators, and hoteliers to get in quick with new ideas before someone else moves on your opportunity.”
Mayor Flannery says local operators will need MBRIT’s expertise to properly capitalise on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I encourage local businesses to get in touch with MBRIT right now to make sure you’re part of this journey from the start,” he says.
“The tourism transformation we’ve seen here over the past decades has been extraordinary, going from sleepy seaside villages to become a modern city boasting retailers like Costco and Ikea and major attractions like the Sandstone Point BIG4 caravan park.
“But we need to do much, much more if we are to become a serious international player with an inimitable local lifestyle, incredible attractions and enviable events calendar - so that the Olympics leave a legacy for us all to love long after the games finish.
“I’m pleased that this competitive tender process was overseen by an independent probity advisor, this way we can guarantee locals that we got the best of the best for these important contracts.”
MBRIT Chairman Shane Newcombe says there will be an increased focus on destination marketing to attract more visitors to the region, supporting local tourism operators and businesses.
He says the contracts align with Council’s Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS).
“MBRIT sees itself as an important stakeholder in the delivery of the REDS’ ambitions and what it aims to deliver – 100,000 jobs and economic growth,” Mr Newcombe says.
He says the community has been calling for more small, localised events across the region and MBRIT will deliver these while strengthening its signature events including KidsFest, Caboolture Festival, Hills Festival, Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival and Festival of Sails.
“Our team is solid and dynamic – two key features acknowledged and appreciated by the stakeholders they work with in the community,” he says.
“I’m immensely proud of what they have achieved so far, particularly in supporting businesses, tourism operators and the community during the past two years as we’ve navigated an unprecedented global pandemic.
“They have worked hard to identify community need and opportunities to help. I know the tourism sector, in particular, has been grateful for their assistance.
“During the course of the previous contract with council, MBRIT had proven it delivers. These new contracts give us the opportunity to continue that work and help drive our region’s COVID-19 recovery, while providing the events that bring the community together and make us all feel good.
“I’m also excited to see what our innovation team does next in its bid to further drive collaboration on the bigger, bolder, brighter ideas that will take our region into the next decade and beyond. And it’s the continuation of the work MBRIT initiated in the region four years ago.”
The Destination Management and Tourism Services’ contracts are for three years, with the option for another three years.