The Port's natural beauty is being promoted by some of the area's high-profile identities in a new tourism campaign that has the industry and local businesses excited.
Port Stephens 'Incredible By Nature' had its statewide launch on June 25 - four months later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign, which replaces the successful, but ageing, 'PS I Love you' brand, is being touted by Destination Port Stephens (DPS) as the area's biggest brand campaign ever undertaken to attract travel to the region.
And it is being backed by a high impact advertising campaign that includes outdoor billboards, a Sydney light rail wrap, advertising panels on Sydney trains, regional television advertisements and all-important digital and social media advertising.
Some of the local identities to feature include abalone diver Greg Finn, fishing guru John 'Stinker' Clarke, Sandy Munday from Samurai Bungalows, Imagine's Frank Future and photographer Lisa Skelton, Karly Greentree and Beryl Cowen from Worimi Conservation Lands, Ranger Susanne Callaghan, and Leanne Samson from Oakvale Wildlife Park.
"Incredible by Nature aims to reboot the vital local visitor economy in the wake of COVID-19. Developed in partnership with Destination NSW, it is designed to drive overnight visitation and build a strong sense of local pride, to cement its sustained success," DPS CEO Eileen Gilliland said.
"The whole community can feel proud of this campaign which conveys, in a very authentic way, the incredible natural assets, awesome experiences and wonderful people that make Port Stephens such a special place to visit."
In the highly competitive travel landscape, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic, the challenge according to Ms Gilliland was to differentiate Port Stephens from other coastal regions and holiday options.
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"The distinctive new brand identity was born by identifying the region's unique combination of incredible nature and humble, coastal town soul.
"It aims to reboot the Port Stephens tourism economy and targets people in the 25-45 year age group who previously may have never thought of holidaying in Port Stephens, as well as attract return visitations.
"We want to capture young couples from Sydney and other cities who may be seeking a getaway outside of the school holiday period."
DPS chairman Andrew Macdonald said that 'Incredible by Nature' had captured the very essence and spirit of Port Stephens - where the natural beauty of the region runs deeper than awe-inspiring scenery.
"The seascapes and landscapes here are an idyllic backdrop for the many amazing experiences that feature in our new campaign.
"Among the many highlights we want visitors to discover for themselves feature quad biking and sand boarding down the largest moving dunes in the southern hemisphere, swimming with wild dolphins and seeing whales up close or hiking to the top of Mount Tomaree through bushland alive with native wildlife."
In support of the joint campaign between DPS and Destination NSW, Port Stephens Council has invested in extending the campaign reach to include outdoor, print and television advertising.
Port businesses meanwhile are preparing for a bumper July school holiday period, with families seeking some outdoor activities following months of lockdowns and isolation.