CEO-Board Updates

July 2021 CEO Update

TTNQ recognises the impact that school holiday lockdowns have caused Cairns & Great Barrier Reef tourism operators with losses of $3-5 million a day in the region.

The tourism industry was looking forward to the winter school holidays with very strong bookings encouraging many businesses to invest in new products and train staff to cater to the demand.

This anticipation was quickly destroyed as lockdowns once again impacted a peak holiday period. When the Greater Sydney lockdown was announced 14,000 airline seats worth $15 million were cancelled in three days. Forward bookings were lost and the cancellations are continuing.

Accommodation properties are reporting multi-million losses with occupancy rates dropping from percentages in the 90s to the 50s. Victoria’s fondness for Port Douglas cushioned losses there, however, Cairns and Palm Cove properties were hit hard.

Cancellation fatigue has hit consumers as operators are not seeing the rebooking rates which buoyed optimism after the Easter lockdowns.

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef needs to be back in market stronger than ever so we are launching aggressive campaign activity in July.

TTNQ has worked with the Queensland Government on Cairns Holiday Dollars to immediately put money back into the pockets of operators. The past three months of Holiday Dollars generated $2 million in direct expenditure and 66% of the recipients surveyed said the vouchers influenced them to take an extra experience during their holiday.

The visitors utilising Cairns Holiday Dollars spent an additional $4 million in our region and 81% said they would be recommending Cairns & Great Barrier Reef to friends as a result of their experience. More than half the people enjoyed the Great Barrier Reef with their voucher, one-quarter chose a wildlife tour or attraction and 20% booked an adventure and discovered something new.

We are now targeting the resilient drive market by giving vouchers to Visitor Information Centres on the Cassowary Coast and the Atherton Tablelands to encourage those holidaymakers to add more experiences to their trip.

We partnered with Jetstar to offer flight deals from Newcastle and next week we launch three campaigns to offset the negative impact of recent lockdowns.

The Spring Deals Campaign targeting social media and digital channels will promote operator deals to high-value travellers in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Perth.

Aiming at 3.1 million domestic high-value travellers, the Eco-Luxury Campaign will run across print, social, online and television to raise awareness of sustainable travel practices and position Cairns & Great Barrier Reef as the eco-tourism leader in Australia.

The Drive TNQ Campaign targeting high-value road trip enthusiasts within Queensland and interstate operates until the end of September with the goal of driving 7000 referrals to operators.

The Cairns & Great Barrier Reef tourism industry urgently needs support from Australians who are able to travel and TTNQ is working with our partners to capture their attention and give them a reason to travel. Government support will also continue to be necessary for the tourism industry’s long and challenging road to recovery from this globally devastating pandemic.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer