Port chamber forges closer alliance with tourism body
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.