CEO-Board Updates

December 2019 CEO Update

A new decade is just around the corner and with it a fresh, new brand platform to help Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) members throughout the region promote Cairns & Great Barrier Reef. The aim is to inspire travellers who want to see the world differently and know that they have made a difference by choosing to visit our region.

Having arrived just three months ago, I have seen the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef brand story evolve with industry input, who have come together to add their piece to the puzzle of what makes this region a compelling destination to visit. Inspired by your collaborative approach we have adopted our version of the Viking Clap, as a key pillar in how the brand is developed to amplify the stories of the industry. It is the clap that will become louder as we work together and speak with one voice to make the destination’s marketing campaigns translate into more than $40 million in sales to TTNQ members.

For many, the Viking analogy is a reflection of the battles we have endured in 2019. A long monsoon season dented our all-important domestic market, international air capacity was reduced, and global economic trends impacted key international markets. Visitor spend and numbers to the region have levelled off after an average of 7% growth per annum from 2011 to 2019.

However, the shift we have felt is not unique to our region.

Importantly, we have fought back by responding as an industry to regain market share. With our partners at Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and Cairns Regional Council, we have invested $2.8 million in a domestic marketing campaign which started in August 2019 and runs through to October 2020. It is the largest domestic marketing campaign our destination has embarked on in many years.

Internationally we partnered with TEQ and the industry to launch campaign activities that delivered more than $10 million in publicity value in China supporting the Hainan services, and in Europe and India supporting the SilkAir services. We are planning activities for New Zealand and the United States to support new services across the Tasman and are working in partnership with Brisbane for new services from the US.

TTNQ and 10 members have just returned from TEQ’s Queensland on Tour Europe. Our marketing efforts there included taking a Great Barrier Reef expert for the first time. Master Reef Guide and marine biologist Gareth Phillips from Reef Teach joined the tour to talk to the trade and media about the Reef and its health, while new Indigenous experiences were showcased by Dale Mundraby from the Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation.

We are in the most competitive market the destination has ever found itself with consumers spoilt for choice domestically and internationally. The key to our success is to increase our share of voice in our target markets with additional investment and through collaboration with industry and our partners.

I look forward to working with you in the New Year to increase the noise of our Viking Clap for the benefit of not only the tourism industry but the greater regional economy. My New Year’s resolution is to bring all the sectors of the economy that tourism supports – from education to agriculture – into our Viking Clap so that it resonates around the world.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy festive season!


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer

18 December 2019