REVITALISING PORT DOUGLAS Marketing our key motivators
LONG term improvement to Port Douglas’s economy can be achieved by implementing four strategic initiatives, according to the Melbourne Business School in its report to help revitalise the region.
The initiatives include increasing the tourism market by focusing resources to restore the allure of the town and targeting key market segments to help drive growth and reverse the tourist massification trend.
Port Douglas needs to grow at 5 per cent per annum over the next five years to reach 2005 tourist levels and the report recommends improved market research to better understand Port Douglas’s values and tourist profiles.
The proposed focus is aligned with the domestic market’s main motivation to visit Port Douglas being “tropical relaxation” while the most significant motivator for the international market is “reef and relax”.
The key domestic tourist is seeking a restful break and in the international market it is the first-time couples. Both have a fairly high budget, are less seasonal and are more likely to become repeat tourists.
Port Douglas needs to differentiate itself from Cairns and not compete against the city by positioning itself as a secluded hideaway experience, the report claims.
It also needs to invest in infrastructure aligned to the town’s vision and identity and upgrade existing properties to restore competitive advantage and encourage further investment.
The report suggests Port Douglas requires market research which better understands customer profiles with simple questions, a larger sample size and in multiple languages.
Understanding the needs and expectations of key markets visiting Port Douglas and targeting them while also capturing the emerging Asian markets will help restore a premium status, the report claims.
While the main international markets for Port Douglas are the UK, Europe, New Zealand and the US, visitor growth has been slow in the past five years and tapping into the Chinese market will provide long-term growth and an increase in revenue, according to the report.
Managing the negative perceptions on the climate of the region - the wet season - will also help make the region more competitive by making the most of asset features specific to the wet season which could be supported by organising a regular event to take place from January to March.
Other suggestions include collaborating with Mossman stakeholders to make indigenous culture a drawcard, developing an accreditation system for hospitality supported by training and developing a world-class gastronomic experience featuring local produce.
The report called for a comprehensive plan for the needs of the tourism industry to be developed which considers factors raised in the report.
Developing a unified plan and vision across all tourism-related businesses as a basis for decision-making in marketing and investments, appointing a representative council or action group and conducting regular evaluation of the process is vital to revitalising Port Douglas.
Other initiatives included in the Melbourne Business School’s Revitalise Port Douglas will be analysed in next week’s edition of the