TTNQ’s new CEO

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

LO­CAL stake­hold­ers have wel­comed the apoint­ment of in­com­ing Tourism Trop­i­cal North Queens­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Alex de Waal, who will take up his po­si­tion in Jan­uary.

Ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree Doug Ryan said the ap­point­ment of Mr de Waal will be very ben­e­fi­cial to the re­gion.

‘‘I knew Alex when he was work­ing some years ago for Tourism Queens­land, and he’s well re­spected in the in­dus­try and well cre­den­tialled ,’’ Mr Ryan said.

‘‘ He’ll fit into this im­por­tant po­si­tion very well, and I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing very closely with Alex.’’

How­ever the push by some tourism in­dus­try heavy­weights to open up new in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic mar­kets, to seek more fund­ing and to re­brand TTNQ, was met with more cau­tion.

Mr Ryan agrees that the most im­por­tant is­sue is to se­cure greater fund­ing.

‘‘ That’s the most press­ing mat­ter, as we can’t be equal play­ers in a very com­pet­i­tive mar­ket place with­out in­creased fund­ing,’’ Mr Ryan said.

Reaction of lo­cal in­dus­try iden­ti­ties was not as favourable to a push by some big play­ers to scrap the Trop­i­cal North Queens­land brand in favour of the Great Bar­rier Reef.

The Dain­tree Mar­ket­ing Co- Op and Jun­gleSurf­ing’s Sheena Wal­shaw be­lieves the di­ver­sity of the area is vi­tal to the in­creas­ing tourist num­bers from both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

‘‘It’s an age old ar­gu­ment, and I can un­der­stand the rea­sons be­hind the Great Bar­rier Reef brand, par­tic­u­larly on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket,’’ Ms Wal­shaw said.

‘‘How­ever, to sim­ply re­fer to our re­gion as a gate­way to the Great Bar­rier Reef does the area a dis­ser­vice, given the highly ac­ces­si­ble and di­verse land­scape that abounds in the area.’’

There’s also a feel­ing that there are pit­falls to a brand change.

‘‘We need con­sis­tency in our mar­ket­ing, and the TNQ brand has worked well,’’ Mr Ryan said.

‘‘In fact,con­cen­trat­ing on Western mar­kets as we do, Port Dou­glas has out­per­formed the re­main­der of TNQ, and in­deed all Queens­land, in visi­ta­tion and vis­i­tor num­bers.

‘‘While we should be keen to break into new mar­kets, it should not be at the ex­pense of our tra­dional mar­kets of the UK, Europe, and the USA.’’

Mr de Waal takes up his po­si­tion in Jan­uary.

RE­SPECTED: Alex de Waal

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