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