CEO-Board Updates

June 2019 Chair Update

Wendy Morris

Many businesses have been doing it tough after an extended wet season prompting them to ask what TTNQ is doing to assist in this downturn. Questions about Great Barrier Reef messaging are also being asked.

In a nutshell:

  1. TTNQ has partnered with TEQ to roll out domestic campaigns in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as an immediate shot in the arm to assist TNQ operators.
  2. scUber is getting substantial traction in altering the Reef message by reaching an audience of more than 3 billion people around the world.
  3. A specialist agency is aligning destination research with stakeholder and marketplace needs to develop a plan to reset the region’s image.
  4. TTNQ will continue to work in key international markets to maintain visitor numbers and drive visitation through direct air routes.
  5. Events will continue to be supported to maintain visitation during shoulder seasons and downturns.

Last week Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) CEO Josh Thomas and Chair Dr Ian Poiner (pictured above) met with the TTNQ Board about the challenges with messaging around the Reef.

Both reiterated that they deeply valued their partnership with the tourism industry in both protecting and showcasing the Great Barrier Reef’s spectacular natural beauty. They said that while the Reef faced significant challenges requiring local and global efforts to protect it, Australia could be proud that we remain a world leader in Reef management and protection.

The enormous media coverage of scUber has reached nearly half the world’s population making this unique Great Barrier Reef ride incorporating Quicksilver Reef Cruises and Nautilus Aviation a PR success story.

At the launch of scUber, GBRMPA Chief Scientist Dr David Wachenfield and I were part of a panel session for media from around the world. Called Decoding the Reef, the panel included Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef CEO Andy Ridley, Lady Elliott Island custodian Peter Gash and Professor Peter Harrison from Southern Cross University talking about the challenges the Reef faces and what makes it so special.

The Reef was also brought to the attention of the younger generation this month with SpongeBob SquarePants launching Junior Citizens of the Reef and Nickelodeon Australia developing the Adventures of the SpongeBob Reef Squad.

TTNQ has been marketing Cairns as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef by using the destination name Cairns & Great Barrier Reef for the past 15 years so it is vitally important that we continue to share positive messaging about this World Heritage area.

Despite the downturn, there are many positives in our region. This week Qantas announced they would fly from Brisbane to San Francisco and Chicago from next year which will help bring more travellers from our key North American market to Cairns. SilkAir’s capacity has increased by 40% with the introduction of daily scheduled flights to Cairns, giving us the opportunity to grow the European market.

Cairns has two new Crystalbrook Collection hotels scheduled to open this year and the $8 million Global Backpackers opened this week on the Esplanade. The Wangetti Trail has full funding with the State Government securing additional funds this month.

I love where we live, and I know you do as well. After 45 years here and a lot of bumps along the way, I’m confident that the plan the TTNQ team has in place with our industry partners is the right one at the right time to drive the long-term growth of sustainable tourism for our region.

Wendy Morris
TTNQ Chair

19 June 2019