CEO-Board Updates

December 2021 CEO Update

Queensland’s barriers have finally lifted for domestic travel and international visitation is just around the corner as our industry nervously waits to gauge the consumer confidence in travel for early 2022.

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef was ready when Queensland’s borders opened on Monday. We have been aggressively marketing our destination and the industry is ready to welcome our southern visitors back for a summer in the tropics.

Our economic recovery will be closely tied to the return of international markets after welcome support from Queenslanders and interstate visitors who have pushed occupancy rates above 70% for the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Beyond the school holidays we are looking at numbers below half of our pre-COVID levels and this is when we really need to see interstate visitation pick up before we get internationals back.

TTNQ’s international team have been working to maintain their trade relationships and our Western and Asian marketing team will be in-market in January 2022 to work with Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland to re-engage in the trade space.

Confidence will be critical after such a long period of closed international borders. Sam Sakamoto will be in Japan and Claudia McFadden in Europe to determine what the challenges to market re-entry are, what our key markets look like, and how we can support future campaign activity by TA and TEQ.

It has been a really tough 21 months for Tropical North Queensland’s tourism industry with one-third of our visitors missing since February 2020 and lockdowns keeping many Australians out for much of this year.

Despite the challenges that 2021 delivered, we have logged some great achievements for our members and the community.

Domestic tourism spending increased by $200 million to $2.3 billion as Cairns became the most Googled regional destination in Australia and our Instagram page’s organic reach hit 61.7 million. We topped it off with Cairns being named the 2021 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year earning the destination $4.5 million in publicity.

TTNQ secured more than $40 million in extra one-off marketing, event and operator support funding for the region and smashed publicity targets by achieving $147 million in Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE).

The hard work will continue as we rebuild decimated markets, hibernating businesses re-emerge, and visitor confidence is restored.

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is an experience visitors will never forget. We are ready to deliver that unforgettable experience to our domestic and international markets once again.

I wish our members a safe and restful Christmas and trust you will have time to recharge in preparation for a New Year filled with opportunities. Farewell 2021 and let’s bring 2022 on!


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer