Facebook battle: Wollongong vs Townsville

Wollongong will face off against Townsville in a Facebook "vote-off" today to determine which city will get to host Australia's first social media tourism conference.

Seven cities around the country, including Wollongong, nominated late last year to host the two-day Social Media Tourism Symposium, the world's largest conference dedicated to tourism marketing and promotion through social media.

The Australian event, scheduled for July, is the first to be held outside the US since the inaugural conference in 2010.

Wollongong swept through the first round of voting two weeks ago to make it into the top four cities, then narrowly beat Brisbane last week to make it into the final round.

Wollongong will compete against Townsville in a 12-hour Facebook vote-off from 9am today. The city with the most votes at 9pm will win the right to host the symposium, which is expected to bring about 100 to 150 national and international attendees and generate about $200,000 in income for the region's hotels and restaurants.

Destination Wollongong general manager Mark Sleigh said the true value of hosting the conference would come from the "limitless" exposure of the city to international tourism markets.

"There is far more at stake than merely winning the rights to host a social media conference," Mr Sleigh said.

"All the people coming to this conference will be using social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to showcase Wollongong to the world."

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said many people in the community were behind the competition already but urged even more to log on and vote for Wollongong in today's final round.

HOW TO VOTE

Log on to Facebook. 

Visit the Social Media Tourism Symposium page.

Click on the purple “vote” icon and select Wollongong.

After voting, Facebookers can share the link with friends to encourage them to vote as well.

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