High Australian dollar, natural disaster coverage blamed for tourism slump
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.