TPDD chief blasts Billy’s crocs ad­vice

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

BILLY Gor­don has drawn the ire of chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree, Tara Ben­nett, who told the

this week that beaches in the Dou­glas Shire were one of the ma­jor draw­cards of the re­gion, and not to be up­staged by the Gold Coast.

“I’m per­plexed why Billy Gor­don as our re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tive would be di­rect­ing peo­ple to an­other part of Queens­land,” said Ms Ben­nett.

Last week the re­ported Mr Gor­don had sug­gested hol­i­day-mak­ers seek­ing the tra­di­tional beach ex­pe­ri­ence should go to the Gold Coast, cit­ing the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tions (DEHP) ad­vice to keep away from wa­ter­ways in places like the Dou­glas Shire.

He said Dou­glas Shire couldn’t be ev­ery­thing to ev­ery­one and avoid­ing the wa­ter­ways wouldn’t be so much of a draw­back, sug­gest­ing that though Port Dou­glas and the re­gion had its strengths, as an “iconic ocean­side tourist desti- na­tion” where swim­ming was the star at­trac­tion, the Gold Coast was a bet­ter op­tion.

But Ms Ben­nett had the num­bers to counter that ar­gu­ment. “I com­pletely dis­pute that be­cause our sur­vey­ing shows that beaches are one of the key driv­ers for peo­ple com­ing to our des­ti­na­tion.

“When you think about the beaches on of­fer that he’s com­par­ing in the Gold Coast, it’s par­tic­u­larly why fam­i­lies love com­ing up to our re­gion.

“Be­cause we’re in­side the reef – our beaches are in­cred­i­bly safe as far as tides and rips go, and it’s why peo­ple love to spend days at the beach ba­si­cally with their fam­i­lies.”

On the DEHP, Ms Ben­nett said their blan­ket ad­vice of stay­ing clear of the wa­ter to avoid crocs – was “chill­ing.”

“They’re work­ing on zero risk. I think peo­ple need to be ed­u­cated and make their own risk as­sess­ment.

“The beaches are one of the key rea­sons peo­ple visit our des­ti­na­tion and they have been en­joy­ing them for many years.”

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