Num­bers up in the right places for Dou­glas

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tibballs

VIS­I­TOR num­bers for Trop­i­cal North Queens­land in 2016 were up 15.3 per cent on 2015 with mar­kets that favour the Dou­glas re­gion see­ing huge in­creases.

Ger­many, which ac­cord­ing to Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tara Ben­nett nor­mally re­sults in in­creases of 5 per cent year on year, jumped to a 10.3 per cent in­crease in vis­i­tor num­bers in 2016.

“That’s the high­est I’ve seen Ger­man growth in a long time,” Ms Ben­nett said.

“The Ger­man mar­ket we par­tic­u­larly love be­cause they come to Aus­tralia for six weeks — so they’ve got a lot longer to en­joy.”

Ms Ben­nett said that the Dou­glas Shire tended to cater for Western mar­kets with more money and time.

“(Ger­mans) spend over a longer pe­riod,” she said.

“They tend to self-drive. For Dou­glas, that means great news for our op­er­a­tors in the Dain­tree, so they’re char­ac­terised by much higher dis­per­sal. They have a lot more time in the re­gion and they’re happy to spend money on tour­ing, par­tic­u­larly with en­vi­ron­men­tal mes­sag­ing.

“Some are more ad­ven­tur­ous, but they do have a high in­ter­est in qual­ity land­scapes and en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices. They have a so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­science, so they would favour eco-tourism op­er­a­tors and be look­ing for that deeper na­ture ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Ms Ben­nett said that Ger­many rep­re­sented the fourth largest con­trib­u­tor to vis­i­tors to Dou­glas, com­ing in be­hind New Zealand, the US and the UK, which, de­spite Brexit jit­ters, is still the top con­trib­u­tor.

“The UK is still fairly sta­ble which we ex­pected with the un­cer­tainty fol­low­ing Brexit — how­ever it is still prob­a­bly for Dou­glas our strong­est per­form­ing mar­ket,” she said.

“Pre-Brexit we had all ex­pected the UK to con­tinue dou­ble-digit growth, but on from Brexit we’ve seen the pound de­value sig­nif­i­cantly, which has made trips to Aus­tralia at least 25 per cent more ex­pen­sive.”

“We are see­ing what we had ex­pected, that it would slow down.

“Vis­i­tor num­bers from the UK in­creased by 1.7 per cent, com­pared to 14.6 per cent from the US and 42.3 per cent from New Zealand.

“It’s still a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket and it would be one of the top pro­duc­ers for the Dou­glas re­gion, how­ever we won’t ex­pect the same growth out of that mar­ket as we are see­ing out of the US and New Zealand for some time.”

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Vis­i­tor Sur­vey re­leased last week, 901,000 in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors came to the Trop­i­cal North in 2016, a jump of 120,000 per year on 2015.

Vis­i­tors to the trop­ics spent more on av­er­age each night of their stay than any other re­gion in Aus­tralia ex­cept­ing the Las­seter re­gion of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory — which is home to Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

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