Tourism Australia bosses hold forum
TOURISM Australia yesterday conducted the first ever Port Douglas forum between the country’s highest tourism officials and local operators.
About 60 tourism representatives from the Port Douglas-Daintree region attended the three-hour event at Sea Temple Resort and Spa.
Tourism Australia chief executive officer Andrew McEvoy fielded questions at the open forum alongside senior market managers Richard Beer, Matt Cameron Smith and Jim Jones.
Mr McEvoy said the biggest issue facing the region was the decline of airlines flying into Cairns.
“If you look at the last 10 years, there are less seats now than there was eight or 10 years ago,” he said.
He praised Cairns Airport chief executive officer Stephen Gregg for luring back airlines in the face of the global economic downturn but said it was “essential” to attract more.
“With the introduction of the New Zealand daily flights we have seen a growth in numbers,” Mr McEvoy said.
Tourism Australia hopes to double visitors to the region by 2020 through fostering partnerships with global carriers.
The organisation recently launched a threeyear $150 million tourism campaign.
Mr McEvoy said local operators could leverage the new “Nothing Like Australia” campaign into “Nothing Like Port Douglas” but would need to put in the hard yards.
“It’s a bit like a gym membership, you get out what you put in,” he said.
He said a strong partnership between Port Douglas Daintree Tourism and larger tourism bodies would enhance marketing opportunities.
“The “Nothing Like Australia” campaign forces us to differentiate our unique selling points and your destination with the reef and rainforest fits perfectly within the notion of the campaign,” Mr McEvoy said.
Port Douglas Daintree Tourism executive officer Doug Ryan said the forum was a positive event for operators and the PDDT board, which had a closed meeting with TA last night.
“If nothing else it gave our members confidence in the direction of the industry and where it is going in terms of branding,” he said.
A networking event afterwards gave operators the chance to engage first-hand with Tourism Australia executives.
Marine issues: Tourism Australia boss Andrew McEvoy chats to Enterprise Charters operator Sally Sherlock and Meridien Marinas general manager Jason Roles