Release of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue not only shed a light on some of the world’s most stunning bathing beauties, it also brought some welcome attention to several of the world’s most beautiful beach destinations, including Apalachicola, Florida, and Cairns, Australia. Photo shoots also took place in Syndey, Australia; Panama; and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.
But for Apalachicola, the attention surrounding the shoot provided a nice boost to a tourism area rebounding from the Gulf oil disaster. Apalachicola is located on the Gulf Coast, about 80 miles southwest of Tallahassee. Sports Illustrated has shot in Florida before but never in the Gulf Coast Region. “We thought we can do some good for our country, really help a region that needs to be showcased,” Diane Smith, SIswimsuit issue editor, told USA Today.
“To me, this solidifies us as a world-class destination,” Anita Grove, executive director of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, told the Tampa Bay Times. “It dignifies us as a place that’s special. It’s beautiful. It’s one of a kind. Hopefully, we’ll be able to use that when we need it.”
According to the Chamber’s website, Apalachicola harvests over 90% of the oysters sold in Florida and 10% of the nationwide supply. It is situated on St. George Island, with some of the most beautiful and serene beaches on the Gulf Coast. “Sail or powerboats are available for rent, or rent a kayak and explore the remote bays and inlets where you might catch a glimpse of a bald eagle over head or a dolphin swimming in the surf,” according to the Chamber. “Rent a bike and ride the paved bike trail or head down to the state park for off road trails.”
Officials in Cairns, & Great Barrier Reef, Australia, were so pleased to have the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue photo shoot on their shores that they put out a news release touting Cairns as “one of the marquee destinations for models Kate Upton, Michelle Vawer and Adaora. Gateway to The Natural Wonder of the World, the Cairns region offered an ideal setting for Sports Illustrated photographers and models with its secluded white sand beaches and coral cays, turquoise blue water and outstanding wildlife experiences.” The release went on to say:
On location in Tropical North Queensland, supermodels Kate Upton, Michelle Vawer and Adaora visited and were photographed in the following locations:
Cairns Esplanade Lagoon – One of Cairns’ best known landmarks, the Esplanade Lagoon is set on the Cairns foreshore overlooking the Great Barrier Reef and Trinity Inlet, creating a year-round swimming location.
Palm Cove – The spa capital of Australia, Palm Cove offers a serene experience with its idyllic stretch of beach and luxurious resorts. This destination is an indulgent haven with stunning views of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
Vlasoff Cay – A secluded coral cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, Vlasoff Cay is surrounded by turquoise blue water, coral reef and an abundance of sea life.
Turtle Beach – Those seeking seclusion on a tropical paradise visit this secluded gem which is accessible only by private boat or helicopter.
Cairns Tropical Zoo– An award winning attraction with outstanding wildlife experiences, the zoo brings native Australian animals – koalas, kangaroos, reptiles and giant saltwater crocodiles – up close and personal with guests.
Cairns & Great Barrier Reef offers countless destinations for all travelers, with its varied offerings from natural wonders to adventure, cuisine to relaxation. Being the only place on earth where two World-Heritage areas meet, adventures are as diverse as trekking through the ancient Daintree Rainforest one day, to diving on the world’s largest coral reef system the next.
“To see the beauty of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef featured alongside the equally stunning Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2012 models is quite an honor for our destination,” said Shana Pereira, International Director – Americas for Tourism Queensland. “We’re thrilled to showcase some of the unique and gorgeous parts of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef with to the millions of Sports illustrated readers.”
Rob Giason Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Tropical North Queensland said, “Visitors from the US love this region. It is an exotic mix of the Australia you know with a distinct tropical flavor that is universally appealing. We enjoyed showing the Sports Illustrated models and crew this special part of the world, introducing them to the relaxed Aussie way of life, our fabulous fresh seafood, our amazing natural environment and local animals.”
Have you been to Apalachicola or Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef? Share your story and photos below. (Clicking in the comment box will bring up an image uploading link.)