Gor­don Well­ham

Ex­em­plar Coaches and Lim­ou­sines owner and nom­i­nee for TPDD Port Dou­glas di­rec­tor’s po­si­tion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

I AM very con­fi­dent that the most dif­fi­cult pe­riod in the past 30 years for tourism in the Port Dou­glas Dain­tree re­gion is be­hind us.

Most in town are re­port­ing their best sea­son in many years and the fun­da­men­tals are in place for con­tin­ued growth. But we can’t be com­pla­cent.

We have stiff com­pe­ti­tion from over­seas, par­tic­u­larly be­cause of the high Aus­tralian dol­lar, and also from other do­mes­tic mar­kets that are re­al­is­ing the rel­e­vance of tourism to their lo­cal economies.

Take Kan­ga­roo Is­land for ex­am­ple. With a pop­u­la­tion of 4000, 15 per cent of whom are em­ployed in tourism-re­lated in­dus­tries, the is­land re­cently re­ceived $18 mil­lion over four years from the State Gov­ern­ment for tourism-re­lated in­fra­struc­ture, as well as gen­er­ous mar­ket­ing funds.

Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree’s bud­get, in sup­port of 9000 ratepay­ers - 80 per cent of whom are tourism-re­lated - has a bud­get of less than $600,000. For our rel­a­tively small bud­get, the or­gan­i­sa­tion gen­er­ated al­most $24 mil­lion in mar­ket­ing im­pact last fi­nan­cial year.

In­crease in visi­ta­tion to our re­gion over the last 12 months (up 11.7 per cent) out­stripped all other parts of Queens­land.

We do not need a whole­sale change of ap­proach. In­stead we need to continue to push hard with the brand­ing and mar­ket­ing that is work­ing, while re­main­ing ag­ile in the mar­kets we tar­get and the mech­a­nisms by which our mes­sages are con­veyed.

The dig­i­tal world re­mains a high pri­or­ity. Mem­bers too will need to pro­vide high ser­vice lev­els and be in­no­va­tive in prod­uct of­fer­ings.

We need to push the en­dur­ing at­trac­tions of the reef, the rain­for­est, the cli­mate and the life­style to an in­creas­ingly di­verse and de­mand­ing mar­ket.

The China mar­ket is on ev­ery­one’s lips. It has un­doubted po­ten­tial but we have to bal­ance its mar­ket­ing pri­or­i­ties against our tra­di­tional mar­kets.

Con­sol­i­da­tion of emerg­ing strengths such as the wed­ding mar­ket is also im­por­tant. With over 500 wed­dings a year in the re­gion there are wide­spread ben­e­fits.

Sim­i­lar, cross-re­gion ben­e­fits de­rive from the rapidly grow­ing cruise ship mar­ket, and there is a resur­gence in the con­fer­ence and in­cen­tives mar­kets. Sport­ing events such as Chal­lenge Cairns will continue to grow.

The good­will and the pos­i­tive vibes in town are pal­pa­ble, smiles are on the faces of lo­cals and tourists alike, the weather has been won­der­ful and the birds are chirp­ing. Let’s work closely to­gether and keep the mo­men­tum rolling to the eclipse and much fur­ther be­yond.

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