Ancient Stories of Our Land by Jedess & David Hudson

CEO-Board Updates

May 2021 CEO Update

The Federal Government’s additional $7.7 million in targeted support to promote Cairns & Great Barrier Reef as a year-round destination to domestic visitors will significantly increase the domestic marketing power of our destination.

Through the support of the Recovery for Regional Tourism Program, TTNQ will deliver an integrated destination marketing strategy to drive year-round visitation.

We have appointed Sydney-based public relations agency Pepr to work with our communications and marketing teams across PR and brand campaigns to position Cairns & Great Barrier Reef as a year-round nature-based destination.

The recovery funds will also be used to create a national travel incentive scheme to leverage the Federal Government’s Aviation Support Package to increase interstate visitation and spend on experiences.

More than 50,100 discounted flights have been booked to Cairns as a result of the $1.2 billion tourism support package.

We will also work with local operators to ensure they can leverage these activities and effectively reinvigorate their products to appeal to the domestic market.

Demand for Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is set to exceed pre-Covid levels this winter and we will also receive a boost from direct flights from New Zealand which start on 5 June.

Figures from Cairns Airport show domestic capacity for May are at 95 per cent of the passenger figures for the same time in 2019. The aviation routes are performing well with the wide body Qantas aircraft regularly carrying more than 200 passengers from Sydney and Melbourne and the new Newcastle route strong.

However, we still need to educate Australians that Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is the tropical holiday they are looking for 365 days a year – not just in winter when they want to escape the cold.

While the accommodation occupancy rates for the region have also lifted to close to the pre-COVID levels, the backpacker and student accommodation providers have not recovered yet.

The region is still missing out on $3 million a day in lost international visitor spend from the more than 3000 international visitors a day that visited the region pre-Covid.

Before COVID struck, domestic expenditure in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef was at record levels at $2.6 billion and international was worth close to $1 billion per annum. Since COVID the value of domestic tourism has dropped by $1.2 billion and there are no international visitors.

The economic havoc wreaked by the pandemic is unprecedented and TTNQ is grateful to Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch’s role in ensuring the Australian Government recognises the tourism industry’s role in the national economy and for equipping us to embark on the recovery process.

With every destination in Australia competing for a slice of the domestic tourism market, this funding will help Cairns & Great Barrier Reef to stand up and be noticed as the destination where visitors See Great and Leave Greater.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer