CEO-Board Updates

June 2021 CEO Update

Domestic interest in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef has never been stronger as we enter the traditional peak season for welcoming our southern friends escaping their cold winter.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland has significantly ramped up our marketing and public relations activity to compensate for the loss of international visitors and in the past 12 months has generated $130 million in Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) publicity, more than double the previous year.

The ‘Cairns & Great Barrier Reef’ brand is gaining traction as we work with Tourism and Events Queensland and our retail partners to ensure the word Cairns is on everybody’s lips. As a result, Cairns continues to be the most Googled regional tourism destination in Australia.

Importantly, this awareness is driving conversion with TTNQ delivering more than 160,000 referrals to member businesses from our consumer website.

This has resulted in $30 million worth of direct business for TTNQ members and $18 million in leisure and business event leads, including $8 million worth of confirmed events. Together this translates into $82 million in direct economic value to the region to date this year.

The havoc wrought on our industry by COVID-19 has also brought opportunities. Our community and all levels of government are now acutely aware of the $3.5 billion that tourism was pumping into the Tropical North Queensland economy before our borders closed.

Intensive lobbying by TTNQ ensured our region’s needs were considered for industry support packages, while our staff pushed out crucial information to help members survive this catastrophic downturn.

To date, TTNQ has helped to secure over $40 million in one-off marketing, event and operators support funding. This includes:

  • $10 million Federal Recovery Grant Fund
  • $3 million Cairns Holiday Dollars Program
  • $15 million for Queensland’s aviation support fund and the Federal Government’s half-price fares
  • $7.5 million Work in Paradise campaign
  • $1 million Great Barrier Reef education subsidy

As the world emerges from the pandemic and people increasingly want to reconnect with nature, the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region is well positioned to be the leading aspirational nature-based eco-tourism destination for travellers.

We currently have the funding to aggressively pursue this goal by leveraging our region’s unique strengths to attract $4 billion in overnight visitor expenditure by 2025, one year ahead of the current projections.

As we roll into a new financial year, and hopefully a step closer to certainty about border closures, we are calling on the region’s tourism industry to be part of the team that will restore tourism as an economic driver for Tropical North Queensland.

TTNQ’s members are at the core of everything we do. In fact, our team had 3000 member engagements over the past financial year.

We need a strong membership base to ensure our region stays top of mind for Australian and international travellers as restrictions begin to ease. A strong membership base also ensures we can showcase the diversity of product our destination is globally known for.

We hope the tourism industry shows its collective strength by joining Team TNQ so we can work together to bounce back from the greatest challenge our industry has ever faced.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer