Ex­pert of­fers hope

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

A LO­CAL shoe store owner is look­ing at this year’s down­turn from a new an­gle af­ter hear­ing so­cial cap­i­tal­ist Peter Kenyon re­mind­ing lo­cals that “noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble”.

De­spite the re­cent news of Bale clos­ing down and small busi­ness and tour op­er­a­tors go­ing bank­rupt, the op­ti­mistic vis­it­ing ex­pert shared some valu­able ad­vice in his pre­sen­ta­tion, “Get­ting the Tills Ring­ing in Times of Down­turn”, held at Ry­dges Re­sort last week.

“The lo­cals in Port Dou­glas have the en­thu­si­asm and com­mit­ment to get off the ground,” Mr Kenyon said.

“Af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion all I could say is that it was one of the most pos­i­tive and in­ter­ested au­di­ences I have spo­ken to in a long time.

“They just need to to­gether.”

In Port Shoes owner Toni Mc­Na­mara was one of the 30 peo­ple who at­tended the pre­sen­ta­tion last Wed­nes­day thanks to the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil and Tourism

work Port Dou­glas Dain­tree en­cour­ag­ing lo­cals to “think out­side the box”.

Ms Mc­Na­mara started the busi­ness in 1987 around the same time as Christo­pher Skase built the Sher­a­ton Mi­rage and at­tended the meet­ing know­ing Mr Kenyon would be a mo­ti­va­tion.

“The open­ing of the Mi­rage was the be­gin­ning of tourism for Port Dou­glas, a lot of the peo­ple who lived here for then were liv­ing here for the life­style not for the tourism,” she said.

“The prob­lem we are fac­ing now is that tourists are ac­tu­ally sav­ing money be­cause peo­ple are so un­sure of the fu­ture.

“Years ago peo­ple were spend­ing money like drunken sailors.”

Get­ting the Tills Ring­ing in Tough Times fo­cused on four case stud­ies of fail­ing tourism-based busi­nesses that were able to rein­vent them­selves and then looked for the suc­cess com­mon de­nom­i­na­tors - the ba­sics.

He fo­cused on the four crit­i­cal el­e­ments of do­ing well in dif­fi­cult times which in­clude cus­tomer ser­vice, in­no­va­tive mar­ket­ing, mo­ti­va­tion of staff and col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween busi­nesses.

Ac­cord­ing to Mrs Mc­Na­mara the pre­sen­ta­tion valu­able to lo­cals and agreed with the sug­ges­tions made - that the Dou­glas re­gion needs to work col­lab­o­ra­tively.

“I agreed with a lot Peter had to say and from re­tail point of view we do need to work to­gether and I think we could do this a lit­tle bit bet­ter,” she said.

“A lot of re­tail­ers in Port Dou­glas are break­ing the first rule of re­tail­ing which is re­peat­ing busi­ness.

“There are that many shops which sell tourism t-shirts, hats and prod­ucts. A re­tailer re­ally needs to look at sell­ing new ser­vices to meet the needs of the lo­cals, not just the tourists.”

Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree Doug Ryan said Mr Kenyon in­spired lo­cals by telling suc­cess­ful sto­ries about other ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties who have bounced back af­ter hard times.

“I think it was more a way of en­light­en­ing peo­ple on new ways of do­ing things,” he said.

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