RE­VI­TAL­IS­ING PORT DOU­GLAS Time to re­verse neg­a­tive trend

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

THE final copy of the Melbourne Busi­ness School’s re­port to “Re­vi­talise Port Dou­glas” has been re­leased to the public.

The re­port aimed to de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive five-year strate­gic plan for re­vi­tal­is­ing Port Dou­glas, with stu­dents de­vel­op­ing an un­der­stand­ing of is­sues and chal­lenges through anal­y­sis of in­for­ma­tion and en­gage­ment with key stake­hold­ers to de­velop turn­around strate­gies.

Over 100 lo­cal cit­i­zens, busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions con­trib­uted, along with ex­ten­sive re­search con­ducted by the stu­dents, which was col­lated to pro­duce the re­port.

The re­port is bro­ken into four sec­tions - growth and de­vel­op­ment, key chal­lenges, key strate­gic ini­tia­tives and align­ment and lead­er­ship - fol­lowed by the ap­pen­dices out­lin­ing cit­i­zens con­tri­bu­tions, terms of ref­er­ence and work­stream anal­y­sis with a sub-cat­e­gory eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The 193-page re­port in­cludes valu­able data and over the course of the next month the Gazette will an­a­lyse each sec­tion, fo­cus­ing this week on growth and de­vel­op­ment.

The first sec­tions de­tails Port Dou­glas’s econ­omy, the is­sues sur­round­ing de­vel­op­ment, the ini­tial drop in tourism num­bers and how Port Dou­glas is far­ing in com­par­i­son to sim­i­lar regions.

Port Dou­glas is heav­ily de­pen­dent on the tourism in­dus­try and its nat­u­ral as­sets and fol­lows strict en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions on de­vel­op­ments to main­tain its nat­u­ral fea­tures, but the re­port sug­gests the area is los­ing fo­cus with public dis­con­tent over the gov­er­nance of the Dou­glas re­gion by the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil.

The re­port de­tails the de­cline in tourism, which started with a 23 per cent drop in 2006 af­ter Cy­clone Larry, which in­di­rectly af­fected the area af­ter neg­a­tive broad­casts put off tourists.

Fig­ures in the re­port show Port Dou­glas has suf­fered more than than other re­gional com­peti­tors Noosa, Cairns, the Whit­sun­days and By­ron Bay, which all ex­peri- enced a drop in 2006.

The dif­fer­ence in room rates be­tween Port Dou­glas and its com­peti­tors has in­creased, as a re­sult of Port Dou­glas drop­ping its rates to counter the over­sup­ply of beds in the re­gion.

Port Dou­glas has not been able to bounce back and dis­count­ing has only been able to grow guest num­bers by 1 per cent on av­er­age per an­num, com­pared to Noosa and By­ron which grew sharply by 24 and 14 per cent re­spec­tively.

On top of this, Port Dou­glas has to com­pete against these regions and in­ter­na­tional ar­eas such as Phuket and Hawaii which also fea­ture world-fa­mous beaches and sim­i­lar trop­i­cal cli­mates.

Cheaper al­ter­nate com­peti­tors in­clude Cairns, Bali and South Thai­land and ser­vice lev­els in Port Dou­glas have dropped be­low South East Asia stan­dards, mak­ing the com­petive­ness of the area weak.

The grow­ing reliance on the do­mes­tic mar­ket sug­gests a loss of global com­petive­ness, with do­mes­tic tourists mak­ing up 72 per cent of to­tal overnight tourists, whereas the in­ter­na­tional tourists have grad­u­ally de­clined at 6 per cent per an­num since 2005.

Next week find out about the key chal­lenges Port Dou­glas faces. For a copy of the full ver­sion of the MBS re­port email sec­re­tary@ port­dou­glascham­ber.com.au

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