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Local Firey Launches Tourism Tool To Support Local Business

Jesse Manning from PortSide Australia.  Image Supplied.

Jesse Manning, a local Sunshine Coast Firefighter, has been working on both the frontline and behind the scenes, to minimise the devastating impacts of Australia’s recent bushfires.

When he’s not running into burning buildings or rescuing wildlife, he’s using his tech expertise to support small businesses on the Coast.

Jesse recently launched PortSide Australia, an online platform that aims to connect water-based businesses with their customers, and ultimately promote sunny coast tourism.

“The bushfire crisis has had such a devastating impact on our country in so many ways - it’s no secret that our tourism industry has taken a major hit this season.” As the Sunshine Coast is ranked amongst the top 10 of all Australian Tourism Regions, pulling in over 3 billion dollars on average in visitor expenditure annually, Jesse feared the impact a national tourism slump may have on our community.

“The Sunshine Coast is loved by locals and tourists for all things in, on, and under the water - I knew a decline in tourism would hit us hard.” After seeing, first-hand, the impact of this fire season on local businesses, Jesse said he “wanted to do something to help.” Subsequently, he decided to “create a tool that showcases this magnificent part of the world while supporting the small businesses in our community.”

PortSide Australia was launched in January 2020, and already averages over 350 visitors to the site daily, currently hosting over 200 business listings.

The website allows users to browse, find, connect with, and review, local water-based businesses and activities, from boat hire, to surf lessons, to water-sport equipment rental, to fishing and tackle stores.

In addition, PortSide allows businesses a platform to promote their products and services through photos, video, social media, and events pages.

“After feedback from visitors to the coast, I learned that so many sunny coast businesses had a limited online presence: no website or social media profiles, difficult to navigate sites, or simply weren’t appearing in search results.” As a result, Jesse described working hard to “create a platform that gets our businesses seen, showcases all of the Sunny Coast’s amazing water-attractions, supports customers to connect with businesses in a modern, user-friendly way, and most importantly, gives our local tourism industry a helping hand.”

You can visit PortSide Australia at, drop them a line at 0473 743 550, or email [email protected]