A new Queensland tourism campaign will replace bikini models and iconic scenery with amateur happy snaps taken by “real” holidaymakers.

The $2.5 million drive, part of Tourism Queensland’s WOW Campaign, will call on anyone who has holidayed in Queensland to send in their best photos of the experience.

The winner will receive a $10,000 holiday voucher and could become part of future brochure, billboard and website promotions in Australia and overseas.

“We are so confident in Queensland selling itself that unlike other destinations we don’t need to rely on set-ups and elaborate photo shoots with models,” Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people visiting Queensland from all over Australia and the world having real experiences and more importantly, taking photos or videos of their trips.”

Previous TQ advertising campaigns featured aerial shots of scenic sites across the state with slogans including “Where else but . . . ” and the award-winning “Beautiful one day. Perfect the next.”
Ms Boyle said research suggested people were more likely to visit a tourism destination if they were given a positive third-party endorsement.

A total of 20.2 million tourists – 18 million domestic and 2.2 million international – visited the state last year and Tourism Queensland hopes this new campaign will reap even greater rewards.

University of Queensland marketing expert Dr Steven Pike welcomed the strategy, saying potential visitors were more likely to part with their hard-earned dollars after receiving positive endorsements from friends and family.

“This is a clever research tactic because it will also provide tourism operators with information about what interests different demographics,” Dr Pike said.

“It has been quite successful in New Zealand already, but the images need to be realistic and allow people to picture themselves in the destination.”

The campaign will use technology similar to that used by popular online photo-sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr.

Images will be screened and then uploaded and displayed via a fully contained media player.

“We want people to share their wonderful experiences by posting their photos, stories and eventually videos on the Tourism Queensland website,” Ms Boyle said.

“There are now more people booking or seeking holiday information online than visiting travel agencies.

“That is why we are looking more and more to unique digital marketing initiatives such as this to increase the state’s share of domestic and international tourists.”

Irish backpacker William McCarthy, 25, who has spent the past year travelling the east coast of Australia, said the new campaign would be a winner as it would promote attractions that might not make the tourism brochures.

“Queensland is brilliant,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Whitewater rafting, I don’t think you can do that in Ireland. The campaign will work because it will show people the other diverse travel activities in Queensland other than the beach.”

Brisbane sales rep Rebecca Harland, 30, is a keen advocate of holidaying at home and said she and her family loved exploring their own back yard.

“I’ve got friends that jet off to London or all these exotic locations, but I think we’ve just got it all right here,” she said.

The campaign involves people sending in photos via a new part of the www.queensland holidays.com.au site, which will go live on May 25.

The winner can spend the $10,000 Virgin Blue Holidays voucher on Queensland holidays over a 12-month period.