CEO-Board Updates

February 2022 CEO Update

There was a collective sigh of relief when Australia’s international borders opened on Monday allowing the tourism industry to plan ahead with the certainty we have been craving over the past two years.

Direct international flights to Cairns will slowly start to return by the end of next month with the long awaited announcement that the first direct Singapore Airlines flight will touch down on 28 March.

We don’t anticipate that the initial resumption of flights to Singapore, Japan, Bali and New Zealand will make much of a dent on visitor numbers for a while. However, it gives the industry time to rebuild their businesses, search for staff, and begin the expensive task of re-engaging with our trade partners.

With a Federal election merely months away, Chair Ken Chapman and I have been lobbying all political players to recognise the value of Tropical North Queensland’s $3 million a day international tourism industry to the economy.

Our industry has always hunted well as a pack and we need to head overseas together again to achieve the success our region once enjoyed. This will be a tough ask for businesses that have not had the opportunity to operate profitably for the past two years.

Direct flights are essential, not just for tourism, but other sectors including education, trade and investment. It is good news that the Queensland Government has partnered with the State’s international airports to invest $200 million in securing more direct international flights to centres including Cairns.

Last week the process of re-engaging with our trade and media partners in person began in earnest.

Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef joined 13 members in Sydney for the sector’s first Australian trade show in two years last week. The Get Local event at ICC Sydney attracted 500 buyers and 180 exhibitors. The feedback from members was positive with reports of strong leads. Buyers were given a glimpse of what to expect in Cairns and Port Douglas with our new virtual reality headsets showcasing local business events venues.

I joined a panel discussion on Sustainable Travel in 2022 at The TravMedia Summit on Thursday and was delighted with the level of interest and understanding from the audience of 200 media and public relations professionals. Cairns & Great Barrier Reef’s promise for visitors to Leave Greater resonated strongly with the audience.

TTNQ’s PR team had 22 scheduled one-on-one media appointments at International Media Marketplace as well as separate meetings with key national media before and after the event. There is no doubt that regenerative travel and understanding the carbon footprint of travel are the hot topics as the world opens up.

The energy at each of these trade events was incredible. The Tropical North Queensland’s tourism industry is very excited to be back doing what we do best – working together to make Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Australia’s most visited nature-based ecotourism destination.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer