The eight-year love relationship between Port Stephens tourism operators and visitors will soon be over, with Destination Port Stephens (DPS) looking to dump the 'PS I Love You' campaign by August.
"The 'I Love You' campaign has made an impact but it is time to take our branding to the next level," said DPS CEO Eileen Gilliland, who has more than 20 years' tourism experience.
"I have traveled extensively in NSW and visited most destination and the depth of product and adventure experience in Port Stephens is more than anywhere else I have visited.
"Nowhere else can you get all the water sports and activities such as whale watching, swimming with dolphins, surfing, kayaking, fishing, as well as sand based adventures such as camel and horse riding, four-wheel driving, sand boarding, bushwalks, toboggans, animal farms and museums.
"It is hoped to have a new brand positioning Port Stephens as a unique holiday experience by the end of August and bolster the region as one of the country's premier tourist destinations."
Ms Gilliland said that Port Stephens businesses would have an opportunity to collaborate to promote Port Stephens to tourists through a new membership and marketing program.
"Aimed at promoting the region, the program includes a major destination campaign which will be eligible to seek additional funds matched dollar for dollar under Destination NSW's Regional Cooperative Tourism Funding Program," she said.
"Tourism to Port Stephens is a $539 million industry which translates to about $1.5 million per day and drives local business growth and employment opportunities.
"Port Stephens is not only competing with other regions for the domestic tourist dollar but also with the rest of Australia. We're excited to work with the Port's tourism industry on a dynamic new destination campaign that will set apart our remarkable product and experiences."
Ms Gilliland said that part of the campaign was to encourage visitors to do more while staying in Port Stephens for longer periods of time and to build on the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.
"For the winter season we are planning more events and activities, such as the Love Seafood/Tastes and country music festivals. And of course we have the humpback whale migration starting later this month."
Ms Gilliland said DSP would continue to collaborate with organisations such as Port Stephens Council, Tomaree Business Camber and Destination NSW to help drive tourist numbers in the domestic and international markets.
Port Stephens currently attracts almost 1.5 million visitors a year who stay 2.3 million nights while tourism is recognised for the economic, social and environmental benefits that it delivers.
"By working together we can have a thriving and sustainable tourism industry and achieve our goal to double visitor expenditure to reach $1 billion annually by 2030," Ms Gilliland said.