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Royal visit to Fraser Island expected to boost tourism


A visit to Fraser Island by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is recognition of the island’s importance as one of the most beautiful natural environments in the world and the trip will inspire more international tourists to come and see for themselves.

Martin Simons, general manager of Fraser Coast Tourism & Events, said Fraser Island’s reputation as a unique place, with rainforests thousands of years old growing out of the sand and Australia’s largest network of freshwater lakes, would receive a tremendous boost from the visit by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.

“Celebrity tourism is big business. Many tourists have a dream to emulate the life of the rich and famous and Prince Harry and Meghan are close to the most recognisable couple in the world today,” he said.

“We will see lots of social media posts of people following their footsteps – and there are few better backdrops in the world than Fraser’s Lake McKenzie.”

The Royals will visit the island, known as K’gari by the Butchulla people, on October 22 to support the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative to preserve forests.

“More and more UK tourists and German tourists are discovering Fraser Island and it’s a major natural attraction in this part of the world,” Mr Simons said.

“We can’t forecast how many extra tourists will come to the region as a result of Harry and Meghan’s trip but an extra 10, 000 international visitors would add $6 million to the tourist economy.

“And that’s direct spending, there’s also a big knock-on effect.”

He said the Royal visit would also help the Fraser Coast tap into the emerging Chinese tourism market.

“There’s a great growth in the China middle class - we call them free, independent travellers – wanting new holiday experiences,” he said.

“Being able to show their friends photographs of themselves visiting a place made famous by a world celebrity is important to them. It all happens on Weibo - the Chinese equivalent of Facebook.”

Mr Simons learned more about the potential of the Asian market while visiting tourism trade suppliers in Shanghai during a trip to China last week, which included a visit to the Sichuan International Travel Expo.

Fraser Island is the sole Queensland stop on the Royal couple’s tour of Australia which begins in Sydney on October 15 and includes the Invictus Games, as well as visits to Dubbo and Melbourne.


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