Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - TOURISM Shane Ni­chols

WE have ev­ery­thing the na­ture lov­ing Ger­mans want, es­pe­cially in the Dain­tree, but at­tract­ing this im­por­tant mar­ket is a full on job that has to be sus­tained.

The Ger­mans are the fourth largest vis­i­tor co­hort to Dou­glas and the fifth for Trop­i­cal North Queens­land. And it’s a grow­ing mar­ket. Their share grew by 13.6 per cent to March 1 last year, to­talling 56,000 visi­tors with 443,000 vis­i­tor nights.

“The Ger­man mar­ket is after au­then­tic, na­ture-based ex­pe­ri­ences and we have that in spades,” said the ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Tourism Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree, Tara Ben­nett.

Ger­mans like to get off the beaten track.

“So they are a great mar­ket for re­gional dis­per­sal. You’ll find Ger­mans out ex­plor­ing.

“They do like to get back to ba­sics as well. They like to camp or be stay­ing at ac­com­mo­da­tions that might be a lit­tle more unique, where they can con­nect with own­ers as well as other trav­ellers.

“They tend to want to do a lot with their time – they’re here for ex­pe­ri­ences rather than fly and flop,” Ms Ben­nett said.

They’re a very tra­di­tional travel mar­ket, seek­ing out a lot of in­for­ma­tion be­fore and after they book. Most of the time they book through travel agents, but some are turn­ing to on­line op­tions.

“We have to work very hard in that space and we trav­elled to Ger­many twice in the past two years, which is a big in­vest­ment for TPDD,” Ms Ben­nett said.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to keep work­ing on your re­la­tion­ships in the travel space there. Be­cause they are such ex­plor­ers you are com­pet­ing against the rest of Aus­tralia. They are just as likely to have a ve­hi­cle and drive down from Port Dou­glas to Syd­ney or Bris­bane, so we need to be very strong in that space to make sure they’re spend­ing a good amount of time in the Dou­glas re­gion.’

An­dreas Macherey, based in Trier, Ger­many, is a travel agent with Aus­tralia as one of his spe­cial ar­eas of ex­per­tise. He’s been out here 74 times.

“As an in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor you want to get the real ex­pe­ri­ence of the re­gion and the peo­ple,” Mr Macherey said.

“That means most of our visi­tors book a trip to the Reef, stay few nights in a rain­for­est re­sort or get the feel­ing of a beach town like Port Dou­glas. Very of­ten it is a com­bi­na­tion but most of the time it is the beach and the Reef.”

Is it hard to sell Far North Qld to the Ger­man mar­ket?

“I love the re­gion very much and in gen­eral it is not hard to sell the re­gion be­cause the peo­ple are fan­tas­tic, there are great prod­ucts as well .... the only gap is the mar­ket­ing.

“A few years ago we were run­ning a lot of great cam­paigns in the Ger­man speak­ing mar­ket with FNQ Tourism and TQ but this is more or less not ex­ist­ing any more.

“That makes our lives a bit hard spe­cially in com­par­i­son with other des­ti­na­tions like South Africa, Asia and South Pa­cific is­lands.”

What to we need to do to im­prove our ap­peal to Ger­man visi­tors to our re­gion?

“In­vest in more mar­ket­ing but not only tac­ti­cal cam­paigns. We need to get closer to the clients and have clear ‘Calls to Ac­tion’ in­volved,” Mr Macherey said.

Can we grow the Ger­man mar­ket?

“Yes 100 per cent. With the right strat­egy we would be able to win much more clients for this fan­tas­tic re­gion.”


Ger­man travel agent An­dreas Macherey

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