ATE pays off for lo­cal op­er­a­tors

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - TOURISM TALK - RICHARD KOSER

LO­CAL tourism op­er­a­tors are hop­ing the cur­rent spell of stun­ning weather con­tin­ues just a lit­tle longer. Fol­low­ing the Aus­tralian Tourism Ex­change in Syd­ney last week, dozens of whole­sale agents are de­scend­ing on the Dou­glas re­gion to see first-hand how well the area sur­vived this sum­mer’s nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

Op­er­a­tors in the Dou­glas re­gion took up 16 stalls at Aus­tralia’s an­nual trade show for in­ter­na­tional tour whole­salers.

Tourism Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Doug Ryan said over­seas agents ap­peared to be tak­ing a greater in­ter­est in the re­gion.

“In some ar­eas, we ap­pear to be ’flavour of the month’ again,” Mr Ryan said. “The high Aussie dol­lar isn’t help­ing but even still, it’s look­ing far more pos­i­tive than last year.

“Al­though some of our tra­di­tional mar­kets like the UK are do­ing it tough, there seems to be a re­cov­ery be­gin­ning in the US and the New Zealand mar­ket is likely to pick up on the back of new flights.”

Many in­di­vid­ual op­er­a­tors agreed the vibe from ATE was bet­ter than it had been in years.

“ATE was an ex­cep­tion­ally well-at­tended event this year,” said Sh­eryn Blund­stone, owner/host of the Penin­sula Bou­tique Ho­tel.

“There was cer­tainly a feel­ing that the Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree re­gion is a pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion over Cairns. There’s bet­ter ac­cess to Cape Tribu­la­tion and the Dain­tree, a wider range of reef boats and a fab­u­lous se­lec­tion of land-based prod­ucts.”

Ms Blund­stone said she spent at least half her time mar­ket­ing her prod­uct and the des­ti­na­tion, and hadn’t stopped since re­turn­ing from ATE.

“Over the next three weeks, we’ll be host­ing more than 20 agents who at­tended ATE,” she said. “I’ve been show­ing some of them around al­ready.”

Jun­gle Surf­ing Canopy Tours man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Sheena Wal­shaw said it was the right time to be pro­mot­ing the des­ti­na­tion.

“We can’t sit back and wait for peo­ple to ar­rive in the re­gion,” she said.

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