CEO-Board Updates

February 2020 CEO Update #2

Tourism has never faced a tougher time in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region, but it is gratifying that the industry has come together in recent weeks to lobby our politicians for assistance, which has resulted in some positive outcomes.

Through your support, the support of TEQ and the foresight of the Queensland Government we have been successful in securing an additional $5.4 million in industry support including both marketing and fee relief, plus the ability to influence a further $1 million in international marketing activity.

Recognising this investment provides an essential boost, but that its impact is short-term, this week TTNQ and members of the tourism industry joined the Cairns Convoy to Capital Q, armed with the region’s $1 billion wish list for State Government investment, including an extra $10 million for destination marketing.

Following the Cairns Convoy visit, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a special Regional Cabinet meeting in Cairns in April to focus on jobs and infrastructure and the region’s recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

The need for marketing dollars to arrest the region’s loss of market share was also emphasised during The Cairns Post’s Future Tourism campaign. This timely campaign culminated last week with demographer Bernard Salt, Innovation and Tourism Development Minister Kate Jones, Entrada Travel Group and director of Tourism New Zealand John Thorburn and myself identifying the opportunities for the local economy, before 500 members of the local business community.

We are grateful to both the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council for listening to the industry’s suggestions as to how we can recover from the devastating travel effects of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Initiatives to date include:

State Government

  • $3 million fee relief package, giving a 100% rebate on fees at the Cairns Marlin Marina and Green Island Jetty;
  • $2.4 million for TTNQ to market the destination interstate and overseas;
  • Fast-tracking $1 million worth of planned Cairns marketing campaigns, including a US dedicated dive campaign; the TTNQ and specialist travel wholesaler Down Under Answers US campaign; and a UK campaign targeting travellers already planning a Queensland holiday and;
  • Waiving fees associated with liquor licences

Cairns Regional Council

  • An extension on half-year rate payments;
  • Immediate payment of $2,057,000 (including GST) to TTNQ, effectively fast-tracking all payments due to TTNQ over the remaining term of Council’s Resource and Performance Agreement with the organisation;
  • Reallocation of $150,000 (excluding GST) in TTNQ project funding previously allocated to the Aviation Attraction Program project (which is no longer proceeding) to other destination marketing activities and;
  • Allocating $10,000 to develop and distribute, through Council’s existing social media channels, two videos aimed at driving visitation to Cairns

Cairns was the first region in Queensland to secure funding under the new $10 million Growing Indigenous Tourism in Queensland Fund. The Queensland Government and TTNQ will deliver a new $200,000 campaign to promote the region’s unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism experiences. This will be used to build capacity for domestic and international trade engagement, content creation, media educationals and to take the story of Indigenous tourism experiences to the world.

TTNQ has mapped out the destination’s marketing priorities in the wake of COVID-19 and these will evolve as we move into the recovery process. We will also continue to lobby for funding to better market the destination and improve its resilience to global and local events.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer

19 February 2020

Cairns Convoy to Capital Q