Port cham­ber forges closer al­liance with tourism body

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWSWS - RICHARD KOSER

THE Dou­glas re­gion has rid­den on the back of the tourism in­dus­try for at least two decades, and now the busi­ness com­mu­nity has for­mally recog­nised the fact.

The re­gion’s tourism pro­mo­tion body and the Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce held a joint board meet­ing last week to dis­cuss ways they could for­mally work to­gether more closely.

“We’ve had in­for­mal dis­cus­sions for a long pe­riod of time, but we re­alised we re­ally needed to sit down in a more struc­tured way,” Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree chair Wendy Mor­ris told the Gazette.

“There is such a huge over­lap be­tween gen­eral busi­ness and di­rect tourism busi­nesses.

“In the past, when we’ve had hard times like the pi­lots’ strike, the whole com­mu­nity re­alised we are all de­pen­dent on tourism, and pulled to­gether. “There’s a resur­gence of that feel­ing now.” Ken Dobbs, the pres­i­dent of the cham­ber, agrees the two or­gan­i­sa­tions can re­in­force each other.

“TPDD’s pri­mary fo­cus is des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing and the cham­ber’s fo­cus is on des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing,” Mr Dobbs said.

“TPDD works in source mar­kets to get vis­i­tors to come here and the cham­ber works to en­sure their ex­pe­ri­ence, once here, ex­ceeds their ex­pec­ta­tions.

“These are com­mon roles and we have some spe­cific project in­ter­ests in com­mon.”

The first pri­or­ity for the busi­ness/tourism part­ner­ship is to lobby for the pro­posed la­goon pool on the fore­shore by the Sugar Wharf.

“The la­goon pool is im­por­tant for lo­cals as well as tourists,” Ms Mor­ris said.

“When we’ve got in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment such as that, it pro­vides a con­fi­dence boost for the whole re­gion.”

Ms Mor­ris said there were a va­ri­ety of ways the la­goon pool could be paid for.

“There’s been a whole se­ries of sim­i­lar projects, and we’re in a po­si­tion where we can learn from them,” she said.

“I would like to think, given that our re­gion is re­garded na­tion­ally as a tourism icon, that we would have the po­ten­tial for fed­eral and state fund­ing.”

While the two or­gan­i­sa­tions haven’t yet set the date of their next joint meet­ing, it is ex­pected that they will meet roughly ev­ery quar­ter to keep each oth­ers’ mem­bers up­dated on their ac­tiv­i­ties.

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