'Forget Cairns': tourism giants unite to promote Bundy reef

SECRET'S OUT: Zen's Best Kept Secrets on the Reef package draws together the region's major tourism players.
SECRET'S OUT: Zen's Best Kept Secrets on the Reef package draws together the region's major tourism players. Eliza Goetze

"FORGET flying to Bali or Singapore or Cairns.

"Everything you could want is right here in Bundaberg.”

A new campaign pitching Bundaberg to the world, backed by the region's tourism giants, is billing our region as the complete package - and the best place to experience the Great Barrier Reef.

Bargara business couple Shane and Pascaline Emms, who opened their luxurious Zen Beach Retreat in February, have launched Best Kept Secrets on the Reef, a campaign in partnership with natural drawcards Mon Repos, Lady Elliot and Musgrave Island Experiences, plus food tourism leaders Bundaberg Rum, Bundy Food Tours and Bargara Brewing.

Catering to the laidback Bargara lifestyle, the packages also include private sessions with Bargara Golf Club and the Enviro-Reef Surf School.

"We want to attract travellers who might otherwise head overseas or to another part of the Great Barrier Reef, to Bundaberg,” Mr Emms said.

The couple took inspiration from their own experience, landing in the region after living in France and Vietnam.

"What's really unique is the combination of all the attractions around,” Mrs Emms said.

"When we first came here we had no idea, and nobody told us, how many secrets are right here in our hands.”

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager Katherine Reid applauded the campaign for looking at the "big picture”.

PARADISE PACKAGE: Zen Beach Retreat owners Shane and Pascaline Emms with Burnett MP Stephen Bennett.
PARADISE PACKAGE: Zen Beach Retreat owners Shane and Pascaline Emms with Burnett MP Stephen Bennett. Contributed

"The southern end of the Great Barrier Reef has some remarkable attributes: smaller, intimate experiences, cooler climate waters, and we're blessed with healthy and abundant coral,” she said.

"Lady Elliott and Musgrave Islands are easily accessible too; we're so lucky here in Bundaberg.

"It's great to have proactive operators like Shane and Pascaline, and seeing (operators) working collaboratively as a region,” she said.

"Hopefully people will step up and take notice.”

Bundaberg Rum senior brand manager Duncan Littler said it was what the region needed.

"There are so many great things to do in the region that people aren't aware of,” Mr Littler said.

"A destination isn't made out of one attraction.

"The whole tourism industry needs to work together to show everyone it is worthwhile booking a flight to Bundy.”

Burnett MP Stephen Bennett said the push would be "great for our economy”.

"Everyone seems to operate in silos here - everyone's so excited that someone is finally saying 'let's work together' and putting that package deal out there.”

Topics:  bargara tourism zen beach retreat

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