Port Dou­glas can be ev­ery­thing: TPDD

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

EX­EC­U­TIVE of­fi­cer of Tourism Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree Tara Ben­nett has come to the de­fence of the no­tion the re­gion can have a multi faceted ap­proach to the tourism mar­ket.

“Laid-back is not back­ward – fu­ture in­vest­ment and in­fra­struc­ture that en­hances and ex­presses the char­ac­ter of our re­gion will strengthen our po­si­tion as an as­pi­ra­tional des­ti­na­tion at­tract­ing visi­tors from around the world,” said Ms Ben­nett.

Speak­ing in re­sponse to out­go­ing Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent He­len De Ross’ com­ments about Port Dou­glas need­ing to pick be­tween laid-back and pre­mium, Ms Ben­nett rub­bished the claims and said that Port Dou­glas could, and did have ev­ery­thing for ev­ery­one.

“The Dou­glas re­gion is liv­ing proof that a des­ti­na­tion can de­velop a strong high end brand that at­tracts well-heeled visi­tors from around the world while pre­serv­ing the laid back, trop­i­cal char­ac­ter that drew peo­ple to the re­gion ini­tially,” said Ms Ben­nett.

“The two go hand-in-hand, quite the op­po­site to the pic­ture put for­ward by the Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce out­go­ing pres­i­dent He­len De Ross last week.”

In the last week Ms De Ross had said laid-back and pre­mium as­pi­ra­tions cre­ated an iden­tity cri­sis that if not over­come would hold back the re­gion, but Ms Ben­nett strongly dis­agrees.

“Mass in­fra­struc­ture and ex­pan­sion do not make a pre­mium brand – ex­cep­tional au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ences do, and to sug­gest oth­er­wise dis­plays a clear dis­con­nect from the tour- ism in­dus­try world.”

Ms Ben­nett said there was no sep­a­ra­tion be­tween a laid back des­ti­na­tion and a high­end one.

“The travel in­dus­try around the world sends their high end clients to our re­gion for the com­bi­na­tion of our laid back trop­i­cal life­style with ac­cess to world class tourism fa­cil­i­ties and our spec­tac­u­lar nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ms Ben­nett said the sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment over the past two years was tes­ti­mony to the pre­mium ap­peal of the des­ti­na­tion, and that it wouldn’t undo the re­laxed na­ture of the area be­cause of the guardian­ship of the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil.

“The Dou­glas Shire town plan­ning scheme has been an im­por­tant part of the suc­cess, pro­vid­ing for pol­icy that is steeped in our com­mu­nity’s as­pi­ra­tions.

“Wide­spread de­vel­op­ment which repli­cates what other parts of our re­gion al­ready of­fer will neg­a­tively im­pact the unique ap­peal and highly re­garded rep­u­ta­tion of Dou­glas.” around the

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Tara Ben­nett of TPDD:

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