Fund­ing fails to keep up

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

FOL­LOW­ING on from last week’s ar­ti­cle based on the Cham­ber of Com­merce’s re­cent eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment study, this week looks at how much is spent on mar­ket­ing the re­gion com­pared to com­peti­tor mar­kets.

The Cham­ber is keen for feed­back on the re­port from the wider com­mu­nity, busi­ness, and mayoral and coun­cil­lor can­di­dates, as the new Dou­glas faces the fu­ture.

Last week’s in­for­ma­tion from the Dou­glas Strat­egy Re­port iden­ti­fied the size of the tourism and cane in­dus­tries in Dou­glas and demon­strated the fun­da­men­tal de­pen­dence of the re­gion on tourism.

‘‘Any re­duc­tion of that ap­peal to tourists, or al­low­ing pro­mo­tion of the re­gion to ei­ther di­min­ish or lapse would mean the em­ploy­ment and over­all fi­nan­cial liveli­hood of 80 per cent of the fam­i­lies/res­i­dents in the re­gion would be fun­da­men­tally jeop­ar­dised or lost al­to­gether,’’ the group’s re­port says.

The ap­peal of the Dou­glas Re­gion de­pends upon our tourism prod­uct and mar­ket­ing com­pet­ing suc­cess­fully with other Do­mes­tic and wider Pa­cific/Asian Tourism Hot Spot ar­eas.

An anal­y­sis of other tourist hot spots re­veals the Dou­glas re­gion spends sig­nif­i­cantly less (based on a per­cent­age of rev­enue gen­er­ated from tourism) than all the the re­gions’ com­peti­tor gov­ern­ments.

Coun­cil’s sup­port of Tourism Port Dou­glas Daintree (TPDD) has been static at be­tween $420,000 and $430,000 a year.

The re­port ac­knowl­edged the Dou­glas re­gion has en­joyed a sus­tained tourist ‘‘sea­son’’ this year, cer­tainly by far the best since the im­pact of the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis, but it should not be taken for granted that the good times are back.

‘‘ The 2013-14 par­a­digm is that the Dou­glas Re­gion via the new Coun­cil must find the money to prop­erly re­source Tourism Port Dou­glas Daintree - the Desti­na­tion Mar­keter,’’ the re­port says.

‘‘Find the money or watch the re­gion and its res­i­dents pay the price!’’

Clearly, the re­port ar­gues, fi­nan­cial sup­port from the coun­cil has not in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly since 2006, leav­ing the area a clear last when com­pared to com­peti­tors such as the Whit­sun­days, Noosa, Townsville and the Gold Coast.

‘‘It is a tes­ta­ment to the tal­ent and con­sid­er­able skill that TPDD bring to the ta­ble and also to the costly pri­vate mar­ket­ing en­deav­ours of the Re­gions’ ma­jor op­er­a­tor and ac­com­mo­da­tion providers over the past 18 months that the re­gion is un­der­go­ing a tourism resur­gence,’’ it says.

‘‘How­ever any busi­ness owner or op­er­a­tor will tell you that where the in­come for your busi­ness is capped or re­mains rel­a­tively stag­nant for a pe­riod of some seven years, there is very lit­tle op­por­tu­nity and even less en­thu­si­asm to grow the busi­ness or to in­ject fresh ap­proaches or roles in to how that busi­ness is run.’’

The group’s re­port con­cludes that if the re­gion is to re­main a tourism hot spot, TPDD must be funded to a higher level than it cur­rently is.

‘‘ If we want TPDD to com­pete strongly it needs to be the well­funded par­tic­i­pa­tory part­ner in the room not the poor LTO at the end of the ta­ble.’’

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