HERVEY Bay, already the spiritual home of whale watching, could soon complement the experience it offers and allow visitors to swim with humpbacks.
The daring enterprise would make the Fraser Coast the only region in Australia able to provide such an intimate humpback encounter, and would almost certainly provide a huge boost for the industry locally.
Currently tourists can swim with minke whales in cairns or whale sharks in Western Australia. Tonga also allows visitors to swim with humpbacks.
A recent Tourism Fraser Coast strategic plan, which was put together after consultation with its members, highlighted a desire for the dive experience to be added to the list of attractions operators make available.
Tourism Fraser Coast general manager Pip Close said research on how to action and the potential benefits of a product such as swimming with whales would be done during the next three years.
She said members of the tourism body had made it known their belief was the region needed to diversify and develop a wider variety of products to overcome the reliance on Whale Watching and Fraser Island.
"We have to innovate, we have to offer more activities to attract and keep tourists in our region longer," Ms Close said.
"We have lost market share in the backpacking industry to places such as Rainbow Beach.
"Once we lose these tourists it's very difficult to acquire them back and when we are competing against regions such as Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast we have to seek new product."
Other strategic plan targets
- More beachfront dining and cafes.
- Engage council to encourage a master plan to redevelop the harbour
- Lobby for law change to allow hand feeding of dolphins
- A shipwreck dive opportunity