MBS urges one vision, one voice to revitalise
REVITALISING Port Douglas starts with developing a shared vision and having one unified voice, according to the experts.
The findings from the report by Melbourne Business School were delivered last Saturday to a community meeting of around 50 local participants.
Professor Selwyn D’souza, who ran the MBS program, addressed the meeting and said having one shared voice is the main issue for Port Douglas.
“The main thing that came out is there’s a lot of things that need a collective approach,” he said.
“Fundamentally Port Douglas needs to develop a shared vision and have one voice getting behind programs or strategic plans.
“And this needs to be agreed to by the citizens of Port Douglas so everybody will get behind and support the leaders, nominated or elected.”
Professor D’souza said the town needs to understand the root causes behind the decline Port Douglas is experiencing.
“The growth and development of Port Douglas has been spectacular but the last six years there has been a significant decline,” he said.
“We term the situation as ’tourist masification’- occupancy has been declining, which led to price discounting.
“That slowly moved the destination from being a premium destination to being a more common destination and attract- ing less affluent people who on average spend less.”
Prof D’souza said the students have come up with ideas for growth in the tourism industry.
“You need to find specific targets and you don’t want to target backpackers because they’ll come anyway,” he said.
“You have to work out who you want to target, be specific, understand the tourism target and target the right segments.
“Get cohesion across the town about the feel of Port Douglas which is presented to the world.
“If you search for Port Douglas on the web you get a number of confusing messages.
“There needs to be some evaluation of identity and one unified message going out in terms of identity.”
To help strengthen the tourism industry in Port Douglas there needs to be investment, Prof D’souza said.
“There was an opportunity to get a major investment from the Government for the Waterfront but there was no unified voice,” Prof D’souza said.
“Whether because of that, or because there was no money, we haven’t been successful at getting any investment and we also need incentives for private parties to invest.
“Whether they’re building convention centres of refurbishing hotels, there needs to be an incentive for that to take place.”
The final report will be delivered to the public by the end of the month.