ATE pays off for local operators
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.