THE arrival of more than 2500 of the world’s most prominent coral reef scientists to Cairns this week is an indication of just how important David Marriner’s proposed conference centre would be for our local economy.
While there has been no word yet from either the Marriner camp or Campbell Newman’s State Government about the prospects of the Premier chipping in to help build the lavish conference and exhibition centre on the grounds of the Sheraton, the sheer scale of this week’s reef symposium is really quite staggering.
No matter how hard you tried, your chances of getting a hotel room in Cairns this week would have been virtually non-existent.
You might have had to tap on the window of a Wicked campervan down at the Esplanade and asked for the front seat if you had to be there.
Hotels and resorts were begging, borrowing or stealing rooms off each other to smooth over their over-bookings and for once, if you walked the streets of Cairns, you felt a buzz in the air from traders.
It is high time both the State and Federal Governments sit down and have a serious discussion about their commitment to tourism in this region.
The industry contributes not just to the economy, but Australia’s reputation, and it’s time for a hand up.