DELAYING a major tourism campaign could be a move that puts Port Stephens in a better position to ride out of the coronavirus crisis than any other NSW region, Destination Port Stephens chair Andrew Macdonald says.
The industry group's Incredible By Nature campaign has been launched on the eve of the NSW school holidays almost four months after it was due to be rolled out.
The promotion, which celebrates the region's natural beauty, has been two years in the making and was held back in early March as COVID-19 began to impact travel into and around Australia.
Mr Macdonald said the delay had allowed the material and strategy to be rejuvenated and targeted towards a market closer to home.
"Normally with a marketing campaign like this you wouldn't launch it right in the start of winter," he said.
"But everybody is looking to move around right now.
"There's a lot more focus on the market for drive destinations, so Sydney, the Hunter Valley and western NSW.
"I'm certain it's the best work that we've ever put out from Port Stephens in terms of a marketing campaign."
Produced in conjunction with Destination NSW, the campaign received a funding boost from Port Stephens Council, which contributed towards advertising as part of a $500,000 tourism and business support fund.
Mayor Ryan Palmer said the promotional videos, set to feature on free-to-air television and the internet, "perfectly capture what locals love about Port Stephens".
"Our local community, like many others across Australia, is still dealing with the economic and social impacts of the pandemic," he said.
"This exciting new campaign will put Port Stephens top-of-mind for domestic travellers at a crucial time - when we need to restart the visitor economy that our community thrives on."
Stunning images of the region will also be seen by thousands of Sydney workers each day, with the city's trams and motorway billboards to feature marketing material.
Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the advertisements would show Sydneysiders "how many extraordinary experiences there are to enjoy right on our doorstep".
"With the recent easing of travel restrictions, we now have the opportunity to seize on the enormous appetite among holidaymakers to explore their own backyard," he said.
"New South Wales is recognised globally for its breathtaking natural scenery and attractions, and one of the best places to experience this is in Port Stephens with its coastal bushland, undulating sand dunes, a spectacular rocky coastline and pristine beaches.
"Driving visitation to regional NSW is one of the best ways we can help our state to recover from the crippling effects of bushfires and COVID-19."
The advertising blitz comes only a few weeks after thousands of visitors descended on Port Stephens for what turned out to be a bumper June long weekend.
Mr Macdonald said the region was unlikely to receive a great number of visitors from Victoria where the school term ended last week, but he was "very confident" bookings would be strong during the NSW school holidays, which start after this week.
Newcastle Airport CEO Peter Cock said Jetstar flights had resumed between Melbourne and Williamtown.
"With the anticipated reopening of the Queensland border in July, we anticipate welcoming back our regular Brisbane and Coolangatta services soon," he said.
"This will likely include flights by Virgin, Jetstar and QantasLink."