Australia's peak travel writing body, the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) held its annual convention on the Sunshine Coastfrom Friday 18 – Sunday 20 August, with 150 delegates coming to the region for the conference, which is being held at Novotel Twin Waters Resort.
Media attendees were also taking part in 21 pre and post convention famils designed to showcase the diversity of the region's tourism attractions.
Comprising more than 300 members, the Australian Society of Travel Writers has been the peak travel writing body in the country for over 30 years. Members include writers, photographers, editors, radio and television presenters, filmmakers, social media and online specialists, and public relations representatives who are professionally engaged to produce articles, reviews, photographs, stories and commentary on national and international travel destinations and experiences.
The ASTW Convention was an integral feature of the Sunshine Coast 50th anniversary celebrations, with Visit Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council, Tourism Events Queensland and sub-regions across the Sunshine Coast supporting the event.
The Sunshine Coast joined an illustrious group of destinations who have won the right to host the ASTW Convention. Previous destinations include Bangkok, Shanghai, Seoul, Lombok, Uluru, Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne
Travel media have already arrived on the Sunshine Coast to undertake famils of the region including 'Following in the Footsteps of Flinders' in the Pumicestone Passage/Glass House Mountains region, Luxe Trekking in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, discovering Caloundra's Aquatic Playground, art and food tours across the region, visiting Australia Zoo, traversing the Great Beach Drive and Swimming with Whales.
The Convention included a signature Welcome Event at the University of Sunshine Coast, where delegates experienced the region's past, present and future through visiting the USC Gallery's historical display, tasting the Sunshine Coast's highest quality produce at a market-style event, and then seeing the future through video animations of the region's development plans.
"The 50th anniversary celebrations provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate how far the region has evolved as a premier tourism destination over the past half-century," said Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Mr Simon Latchford.
"We are confident of delivering an outstanding event that will highlight the richness and diversity of the Sunshine Coast's tourism attractions. Travel media will experience first-hand our expertise in adventure travel, events, and food, with the program emphasising our 'naturally refreshing' image.
"Operators across the region are supporting this event, and mother nature has also come to the party with sunny skies and warm temperatures throughout the time they're on the Coast. Delegates from southern cities might find it hard to believe this is supposedly our 'winter'."
"We look forward to welcoming the Australian Society of Travel Writers to our beautiful Sunshine Coast," Mayor Jamieson said.
"It will be a fantastic opportunity to highlight our outstanding range of tourism and hospitality offerings and showcase our truly beautiful surrounds, from the beaches to the hinterland.
"The staging of the convention on the Sunshine Coast coincides with our 50th Anniversary celebrations, which also allows us to reflect on tourism heritage and profile our progression as a region."
Tourism and Events Queensland Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said the Convention provided an opportunity to connect with millions of readers all over Australia.
"This convention is an exciting opportunity to showcase the Sunshine Coast's best tourism experiences to nearly 150 of Australia's most published travel and lifestyle content creators, representing major newspapers, niche travel magazines, popular lifestyle programs and some of the biggest social media accounts in travel, who collectively tell their stories to millions of Australian daily," Ms Coddington said.
"Through these famils supported by Tourism and Events Queensland, they will get to experience our pristine beaches, lush rainforests, award-winning restaurants and food trails, and of course the warm local hospitality."
"The destination offers so much not only for business events such as this but for holiday experiences and attractions, which bring visitors back again and again."
Photo caption: ASTW President Danielle Lancaster with VSC CEO Simon Latchford