RE­VI­TAL­IS­ING PORT DOU­GLAS Port ‘mas­si­fi­ca­tion’

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

A LACK of lack of unity in the re­gion, no unique iden­tity, tourist mas­si­fi­ca­tion, de­cline in in­vest­ment and mar­ket­ing is­sues are the ma­jor chal­lenges fac­ing Port Dou­glas, ac­cord­ing to the Melbourne Busi­ness School.

The MBS’S “Re­vi­tal­is­ing Port Dou­glas” re­port points to the ab­sence of a clear uni­fied vi­sion for the com­mu­nity as a sig­nif­i­cant hur­dle as the many dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers with sep­a­rate agen­das sti­fle a co­or­di­nated re­sponse to the eco­nomic de­cline.

The re­port cites “tourist mas­si­fi­ca­tion”, which has meant the loss of a pre­mium des­ti­na­tion sta­tus over re­cent years through a de­cline in high-end tourists, five-star re­sorts drop­ping rates, a rise in low-end tourists and a de­cline in in­vest­ment in high-end tourists, as a pri­mary cause of the re­gion’s fi­nan­cial pain.

Lower rates have led to less prof­itabil­ity to re­fur­bish or in­vest in prop­er­ties, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, re­sult­ing in a de­cline in the high-end mar­ket and a loss of premier des­ti­na­tion sta­tus, par­tic­u­larly in­ter­na­tion­ally.

The re­port sug­gests tourism un­der­per­for­mance has been driven by a lack of co­he­sion and plan­ning on the back of sig­nif­i­cant prop­erty de­vel­op­ments as there was lit­tle con­trol or plan­ning when sup­ply over­took de­mand.

The re­port out­lines un­der­ly­ing rea­sons in­clud­ing low co-or­di­na­tion across tourism­re­lated busi­nesses in mar­ket­ing and in­vest­ment, lack­ing in­dus­try data col­lec­tion by lo­cal and re­gional tourism boards and emerg­ing mar­kets not re­ceiv­ing ad­e­quate at­ten­tion.

As a re­sult of this, the re­port claims, room nights are con­tin­u­ing to de­cline in the low sea­son and are sit­ting around 60 per cent in the high sea­son, which is lower than both the Queens­land and Aus­tralian av­er­ages.

An­other chal­lenge is the loss of Port Dou­glas’s iden­tity, which has been branded as “nat­u­rally par­adise” and “ad­ven­tur­ous by na­ture” by re­gional and lo­cal tourism bod­ies.

Port Dou­glas also has been branded “where the reef meets the rain­for­est”, how­ever, both Palm Cove and Cairns are iden­ti­fied the same way.

Port Dou­glas has a mar­ket­ing bud­get of $500,000, which gen­er­ates ex­po­sure of $22 mil­lion, but TPDD’S mar­ket­ing plan lists 18 tar­get seg­ments, which the re­port claims is too many.

The re­port also analy­ses Port Dou­glas’s on­line pres­ence, which has been la­belled “un­co­or­di­nated, con­flict­ing and con­fus­ing”.

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