WHILE some business owners might have walked away from Tuesday night’s business forum in Port Douglas still scratching their heads, at least it is a step in the right direction.
In such difficult times, it is hard to work out the forest from the trees and easy to point the finger of blame.
But the fact of the matter is there are many factors which have contributed to such a tough period economically.
While mining regions are experiencing unprecedented booms, those of us who rely on the tourism trade are left wondering if there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
What started with a global financial crisis has been compounded by a high Australian dollar and more people unable to contemplate a holiday.
But at least the Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree are trying to address the concerns of business owners.
Neither the Chamber or TPDD can solve all the problems of any business.
What the organisations can do though is open a dialogue with business owners to prioritise their needs and try and work together with the community to formulate a plan which again puts the Douglas region back on top of the tourism pile.
We have great products, as proven by the Queensland Tourism awards which saw local businesses collect three major gongs, and we’re recognised as one of the world’s leading ecotourism destinations, as demonstrated by the “ecotourism bible” which lists a quarter of all Queensland ecotourist ventures as coming from here.
We also have great people, many of whom have been through significant downturns before and came out the other side.
The region as a whole needs to draw on these resources to navigate such a vicious economic climate.
Hopefully Tuesday night’s forum was the first of many.
In future there needs to be more debate about the future direction of the local tourism sector to address the concerns of business owners and float a few new ideas which may not have been considered. But judging from the turnout on Tuesday, there is the resolve and interest to put up a collective front and find the answers we need.