Wed­ding bells ring for Port Dou­glas

Red car­pet rolls out for a new wave of Chi­nese visi­tors

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

“THE cake is al­ready baked, we just need a lit­tle bit of it,” says Kavrine Mo, an in­bound Chi­nese travel spe­cial­ist based in Cairns.

She could be re­fer­ring to a wed­ding cake, as she sees huge po­ten­tial for Chi­nese wed­dings in Cairns and Port Dou­glas.

And be­yond that is the en­tire spec­trum of the in­cen­tives and con­fer­ences mar­ket.

Sur­pris­ingly, the main­land Chi­nese mar­ket is com­pletely un­tapped when it comes to the cor­po­rate travel, con­fer­ences and in­cen­tives sec­tor.

“We have ev­ery­thing they need here al­ready,” Ms Mo tells the “But they just don’t know about it.”

And no one here, she says, is pitch­ing these types of travel to them, de­spite ev­ery­thing we read about the rapid es­ca­la­tion in Chi­nese tourists com­ing to the Far North.

As it hap­pened, prob­a­bly the first Chi­nese cor­po­rate group to book the Sher­a­ton Grande Mi­rage in Port Dou­glas was both about re­wards and wed­dings.

A main­land Chi­nese com­pany in the health sec­tor, BSK, brought 60 peo­ple to the Sher­a­ton this week.

It was a re­wards/in­cen­tive pack­age.

Each in­vi­tee was al­lowed to in­vite one an­other per­son. Eleven cou­ples took the op­por­tu­nity to re­new their wed­ding vows at the same time.

Ms Mo will start to pro­mote Port Dou­glas as a Chi­nese wed­dings des­ti­na­tion soon.

As a travel agent fo­cused on China, she has 2000 Chi­nese travel agents on her books.

With her part­ners in Sydney and China she is plan­ning to run a Chi­nese wed­ding in Port Dou­glas specif­i­cally to pub­li­cise the des­ti­na­tion back in China.

There is a big ap­petite in China for western style wed­dings. Tra­di­tional wed­dings in China are lengthy and com­pli­cated, ac­cord­ing to Ms Mo.

Many of the younger gen­er­a­tion want some­thing more ca­sual.

“Port Dou­glas is a great des­ti­na­tion for these peo­ple. We want to con­cen­trate on the high end of the mar­ket.”

Full­share, the own­ers of the Sher­a­ton Mi­rage, still have plans to build a new con­ven­tion cen­tre. This type of busi­ness, from es­tab­lished mar­kets ticks over steadily. This week a US IT com­pany brought 200 peo­ple on a four-night stay.

Pic­tures: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Chi­nese cou­ples from a wide range of ages re­newed their vows at the Sher­a­ton Grande Mi­rage in Port Dou­glas this week

Cairns travel con­sul­tant Kavrine Mo

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