The Cairns & Tropical North Visitor Information Centre will close on June 22 as part of Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s strategy to concentrate on its core purpose of destination marketing to drive visitation and increase expenditure for the region.
Tourism is very much a part of an exceedingly fast-paced and ever-changing world where there has been significant disruption to the business models that have worked for the industry in the past.
Technology is driving how people make their travel decisions and significantly influencing where they make their bookings. The competition from online booking agents has impacted on bookings and commissions to a point where our Visitor Information Centre can no longer compete.
Visitor needs have changed with the advent of online bookings and currently, just 2 per cent of Tropical North Queensland’s visitors utilise the centre on The Esplanade, with the enormous majority preferring the online space for travel advice and bookings.
It does not make business sense to continue with a booking service that can no longer deliver what the majority of visitors need. The Board has been thinking about this option for the past two years and has surveyed members with the majority agreeing to the closure.
TTNQ’s focus needs to be on getting visitors to our destination rather than assisting them once they have arrived in the region. We believe we can better assist potential visitors through digital platforms rather than investing in bricks and mortar. Travellers already in our region can be serviced through digital platforms and the region’s many tour desks.
When considering our strategic plan, we looked at the framework for attracting and servicing visitors which describes the stages of a visitor’s journey in the lead-up to, during, and after a holiday. These stages are:
- Dreaming – they need to be tempted to consider a destination.
- Planning – they need information at their fingertips.
- Booking – they want a quick and easy method.
- Destination – they want to be enthralled with personalised experiences.
- Sharing – they want to boast about their holiday to the world.
The digital world is able to assist with the delivery of four of these five stages, making it the most economical and simplest way to attract and service visitors.
As a result, TTNQ is developing innovative technology to tap into the framework for attracting and servicing visitors. It will be targeted at people while they are making the decision where to travel, and at visitors while they are travelling in Tropical North Queensland.
Members’ products will continue to be showcased through their listing on the Tropical North Queensland consumer website and we will roll out co-operative advertising options that will focus on driving leads and direct bookings.
The Cairns & Tropical North Visitor Information Centre has been providing advice to travellers in Cairns and assisting them with booking tours since the 1980s.
VIC Manager Wayne Joughin, his staff and the volunteers who have given generously of their time working at the VIC deserve a very special mention. Their welcoming faces and professional local knowledge have added to the enjoyment of many holidays and we look forward to seeing them continue to welcome visitors at events like Ironman Asia-Pacific.
As we have done in the past, TTNQ will assist major event organisers by promoting volunteer opportunities as they arise. All volunteers will be referred to the Cairns Airport, Ports North and the Cairns Museum volunteer programs so they can continue their valuable role in the community through these organisations.
It is sad to be farewelling the Cairns & Tropical North Visitor Information Centre, but exciting to be working on cutting edge technology that will take Tropical North Queensland into the future as one of the world’s most inspiring nature-based destinations.
Chief Executive Officer