Sign takes the right approach

A BOLD new billboard at the Gold Coast Airport exit will encourage tourists to choose the Tweed's natural beauty over the Gold Coast's concrete jungle.

The cheeky new advertising campaign is part of an ongoing partnership between the Airport and Tourism NSW that will tempt airport visitors to “turn right for the New South Wales North Coast”.

A stunning vista of Mount Warning dominates the billboard, with the tag: “The only high rises you'll see”.

NSW Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay met with executives from Gold Coast Airport and the Northern Rivers tourism industry to unveil the billboard late last week.

Ms McKay said the groups had worked together to create the promotion, that would open up the beautiful natural assets of the NSW North Coast to the international tourist market.

“The North Coast and Northern Rivers of NSW are blessed with wonderful natural attractions such as a sparkling coastline of beaches, and more than 50 national parks and wilderness areas, some of which are among the world's largest expanses of subtropical rainforest,” Ms McKay said.

However, three young tourists from Hobart weren't really the target market the billboard was aiming for.

Calun Nethery, Christopher and Thomas Allie had come to the Gold Coast for the glitz and glamour, so weren't interested in greenery.

“It wouldn't do too much for me,” Mr Nethery said.

“The scenery looks really nice in the photo, but it just wasn't what we were after on our trip.

“It's a sneaky tactic though for them to do it, especially on Gold Coast turf.”

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers says the billboard is a fantastic idea and points out half the airport sits in NSW.

He played down the cheekiness of the campaign, saying both areas live and work close together and everyone benefits from the tourism in the end.

The Gold Coast Airport attracts international carriers from New Zealand, Japan and South East Asia on most days and Ms McKay said the new campaign had great potential to steer them to the NSW North Coast.

Last year, the Northern Rivers had 145,061 international visitors spending more than 564,300 visitor nights.

Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Paul Donovan said the billboard campaign was indicative of the proactive working relationship the airport enjoyed with tourism bodies.

“The introduction of new international services at the airport over the last year has no doubt seen an increase in international travellers to the Northern Rivers region as part of their travel itinerary,” Mr Donovan said.

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