High Aus­tralian dol­lar, nat­u­ral disas­ter cov­er­age blamed for tourism slump

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - TOURISM TALK - SAM SMALLBONE

THE high Aus­tralia dol­lar and the re­cent weather events have sig­nif­i­cantly dam­aged the tourism in­dus­try in Trop­i­cal North Queens­land, par­tic­u­larly in Port Dou­glas.

Ac­cord­ing to the fig­ures re­leased by Tourism Queens­land this week the num­ber of do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors in 2010 show there has been a sig­nif­i­cant de­cline in Queens­lan­ders hol­i­day­ing.

The de­cline in do­mes­tic vis­i­tors comes to no sur­prise af­ter the floods in Bris­bane, Emer­ald and Toowoomba, and the im­pact of Cy­clone Yasi which was de­scribed in me­dia as hit­ting the en­tire “Far North”.

The sta­tis­tics show that 1,968,000 do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional overnight vis­i­tors trav­elled to Trop­i­cal North Queens­land in the year ended De­cem­ber 2010, a de­cline of 9 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year.

Do­mes­tic ex­pen­di­ture de­clined by 17 per cent to $1.4 bil­lion driven by a de­cline in the lo­cal mar­ket and in­ter­na­tional ex­pen­di­ture de­clined 2 per cent to $795 mil­lion.

On a more pos­i­tive note, in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors have in­creased by 5 per cent with a 76 per cent in­crease of vis­i­tors from China and 25 per cent in­crease of vis­i­tors from Ja­pan.

James Cook Univer­sity have re­cently re­leased a tourism quar­terly re­port from Novem­ber to De­cem­ber 2010 in the Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree re­gion which shows an over­all drop in visi­tor num­bers to the re­gion.

The re­port shows 38.4 per cent of vis­i­tors are from Aus­tralia and 61.6 per cent are from over­seas in­clud­ing the United King­dom (23.2 per cent), Europe (11.1 per cent) and North Amer­ica (10.7 per cent).

Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Doug Ryan said the Dou­glas re­gion had an in­crease in in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors only be­cause the do­mes­tic mar­ket was suf­fer­ing dur­ing the sur­vey pe­riod.

“Due to the high Aus­tralian dol­lar a ma­jor­ity of do­mes­tic trav­ellers were fly­ing over­seas for hol­i­days be­cause it was cheaper,” he said.

“Keep in mind that this was be­fore Christ­mas and be­fore the nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

“The first quar­ter of 2011 will not be good and we can ex­pect to see a de­cline af­ter the ef­fects of the re­cent weather.

“How­ever af­ter re­turn­ing from the ATE the state­ment was made a cou­ple of times that Port Dou­glas is the favourite of the month and I think it will be­come a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion again.

“From a do­mes­tic point of view, the air­fare deals that are go­ing out along with the ac­com­mo­da­tion deals are al­low­ing peo­ple to hol­i­day in Port Dou­glas as cheap as they could in over­seas des­ti­na­tions.”

From the JCU sur­vey con­ducted in De­cem­ber 2010 the main age group or re­spon­dents were 20 to 29 years of age and were couples earn­ing an in­come bracket of $45,000 to $65,000.

A to­tal of 71 per cent of these re­spon­dents in­di­cated that this was their first visit to the Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree re­gion and 97.3 per cent said they would rec­om­mend vis­it­ing this re­gion to prospec­tive vis­i­tors.

The top five mo­ti­va­tions for trav­el­ling to the re­gion in­clude rest and re­lax­ation, vis­it­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef, go­ing to the beach, the cli­mate and to ex­pe­ri­ence a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

Other mo­ti­va­tions in­cluded feel­ing safe and se­cure, ac­com­mo­da­tion value for money, cour­te­ous and friendly staff, visi­tor in­for­ma­tion and the stan­dard of restau­rants.

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