2021 presents our region with both challenges and opportunities. Our primary international markets will hopefully be returning to the region, and we have a real opportunity to increase our share of Australians travelling at home in 2021.
Our industry has put the hard work in, and made the tough decisions, to give our destination the best opportunity to recover as visitor numbers improve while borders reopen.
The reopening of Queensland’s borders to Victoria and Greater Sydney has given us a boost in immediate bookings. The challenge remains to continue the immediate response into travel for February and March. The long-awaited return of our two largest domestic markets has not only delivered bookings, it has allowed Christmas reunions for many families, and will allow those longing for a break to visit our destination.
Cairns & Great Barrier Reef has what people around the world crave at the moment – a safe environment with wide open spaces, a low population and sustainable nature-based activities that help us reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones.
We have a significant opportunity with 300,000 airline seats in and out of Cairns in December. That figure is 68% of pre-COVID numbers and is our way forward to start filling accommodation and tours to support the one in five jobs that depend on tourism in our community.
To leverage this opportunity, our Summer Great. Leave Greater campaign has stuck a chord with southern markets beginning to imagine themselves doing Summer Great in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef. TTNQ has never before done a seasonal campaign explaining that there are different ways to experience the region at different times of the year. Neither have we ever made such a bold move as dropping a giant snorkeller in Sydney Harbour to attract attention to the summer campaign.
Through campaign activity, public relations and our retail partners we are showing people around Australia the best way to enjoy summer in the tropics. Sharing our local knowledge of what we love about summer in the tropics is the stroke of genius in the campaign.
We are not the only destination looking to claw back visitor numbers. Maintaining our share of voice will be a key priority for TTNQ in 2021, as each region and state fights for a slice of the domestic market. The one positive to come from this pandemic is the increased marketing funds that have finally come our way after intense lobbying by TTNQ.
We have been working with our funding partners, Local Tourism Organisations and industry to determine how we use this funding to ensure Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is the preferred nature-based destination for domestic travellers and front of mind for international visitors as the borders start to open in 2021.
Our region knows how to work together to ensure we get travellers to get them here and then disperse them across the region. In this highly competitive environment, it is vital that we continue to speak with a strong collective voice across all our marketing channels.
On behalf of TTNQ’s Board and the team, I wish you all a Great Summer and safe festive season. May 2021 be the year we Recover Greater.
Chief Executive Officer