Instameet boosts Queensland tourism

Queenslanders did a wonderful promotional job for their state on Saturday in what is being billed as the world’s biggest instameet – and a stroke of marketing genius.

G'DAY: A kangaroo greets Instagrammers on Hillsborough Beach in Queensland. Photo: Sarah Biss
G’DAY: A kangaroo greets Instagrammers on Hillsborough Beach in Queensland. Photo: Sarah Biss

 

  “We were hoping for about 3000 pictures shared and we had well and truly surpassed that by 9am Saturday.”

  Instagrammers uploaded their images using the instagram hash tag #thisisqueensland. More than 117,000 images had been uploaded by 12pm Monday.

 An instameet is where people gather in a pre-determined place, at a set time, to take photos then upload them to Instagram. Nearly 90 instameets were held on Saturday throughout Queensland. Mackay hosted instameets at Blacks Beach, Shoal Point, Cape Hillsborough and the Botanic Gardens.

 Popular instagrammer, traveller and chef Gary Norris hosted the instameets at Cape Hillsborough and Shoal Point. Cape Hillsborough instagrammers were rewarded for their 5.30am start with a stunning sunrise and at least 20 kangaroos and wallabies foraging the beach for food.

 “Well, look who turned up at the instameet this morning,” Norris captioned a photo of a kangaroo set against the bright orange sunrise. This and Norris’s other images captured more than  4000 “likes” from all over the world, and without costing Tourism and Events Queensland a cent.

 Cape Hillsborough has already felt the benefits of social media after a photograph of a kangaroo and a man standing together on the beach went viral on instagram earlier this year.

That image and the subsequent interest from amateur and professional photographers helped kick-start a bumper winter season for the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourism Park. In July park owner Ben Atherton said their winter bookings had been running at about 90 percent occupancy. “This time last year we were at about 30-40 percent occupancy,” he said.

 Shoal Point locals will be familiar with a tree that stands alone and bare – in the sea or beach, depending upon the tide. “That famous tree became even more famous yesterday at the Mackay instameet,” Norris captioned an image of the tree at sunset, attracting many admiring comments and more than 4000 likes.

 Tourism in Mackay is considered a growing industry, lagging behind other regions in Queensland. Time will tell as to the benefits of this weekend’s free advertising, but it is hoped the images of golden beaches, tropical rainforest and friendly wildlife will counter the region’s reputation of being nothing but sugar cane and mining.