AUSTRALIA Zoo is the lone Sunshine Coast voice on a delegation of Queensland tourism businesses trying to sell the state to India's 1.2 billion people.
The Beerwah attraction's international business development manager Wayne Poole has joined dozens of other tourism representatives along with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman on a trip to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.
They will present the state's leading tourism destinations and a range of products including island resorts, wildlife and theme parks, hotel chains and rainforest retreats.
Mr Poole said Steve Irwin was still an icon in India.
"The people I meet here look forward to visiting Australia Zoo, the place where his legacy lives on," Mr Poole said.
"Over the past couple of years Australia Zoo has experienced growth from the Indian market, and I am confident this trip will only increase visitation to the zoo and the Sunshine Coast."
Mr Poole said the trip was perfectly timed with the zoo's major tourist attraction win at the Queensland Tourism Awards last week.
Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said India was one of Queensland's fastest-growing international visitor markets and had strong growth potential.
"Queensland is a great state with great opportunity and the 'Queensland on Tour' sales mission gives participating businesses the chance to broker new deals and strengthen relationships with Indian travel representatives," Ms Stuckey said.
Tourism Queensland Acting CEO Leanne Coddington said Queensland welcomed 30,000 Indian travellers in the year ending June 2012, a 15% increase on the previous year.
"Indian visitors to Queensland have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% since 2010 and the market has great future growth potential," Ms Coddington said.
"Our research has also identified that the Indian growth market is keen to experience famous sites, nature, adventure and novel activities that they couldn't do in India.
"Young Indians are more likely to holiday abroad than their parents."
>> Participating tourism businesses include:
- Big Cat Green Island Cruises - Tropical North Queensland
- International Limousines - Tropical North Queensland
- Cairns Tropical Zoo - Tropical North Queensland
- Hamilton Island Resort - The Whitsundays
- Australia Zoo - Sunshine Coast
- Kingfisher Bay Resort Group - Fraser Coast
- Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort - Brisbane
- Village Roadshow Theme Parks - Gold Coast
- Dreamworld/White Water World/ Skypoint - Gold Coast
- O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat - Gold Coast
- Hot-air Ballooning - Gold Coast
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary - Gold Coast
- Whales of Paradise - Gold Coast
- Paradise JetBoating - Gold Coast
- Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa - Gold Coast
- Gold Coast Tourism
- Toga Hospitality Group - Queensland
Is tourism still the best hope for the Sunshine Coast economy?
This poll ended on 30 December 2012.
Yes - 73%
No - 26%
Not sure - 0%
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.