CEO-Board Updates

October 2019 CEO Update

Since the early 1990s it has been my dream to be back in the tourism industry in Tropical North Queensland and here I am.

I have been lucky enough in my career to spend time working around the world but I’m thrilled to be here working with the industry to drive the visitor economy of this spectacular destination.

My first three days in the role were spent alongside the team from Cairns Airport at World Routes 2019 in Adelaide pitching for more air services and greater seat capacity for the region. We were among 200 airlines and 350 airports from around the world at this key aviation event.

Aviation is critical for our region and this week’s release of the National and International Visitor Surveys confirms that our industry has had a tough year. The growth our destination has become accustomed to has slowed. However, the value of the region’s visitor economy remains at $3.8 billion per annum when including day trips. The region’s total overnight expenditure for 2018-19 was $3.3 billion with 2.85 million visitors and 17.3 million visitor nights.

Work is well underway to grow visitor numbers and expenditure with TTNQ’s largest ever domestic campaign in market to lure high-value travellers north. The team is carrying out extensive work in our key international markets with a mix of campaigns, roadshows and educational visits by media and trade. We also have the launch of the destination’s creative and brand story in February to look forward to.

Tropical North Queensland is the most extraordinary nature-based tourism location in the world and has always been a global leader for creating new visitor experiences and leading the agenda on sustainable tourism. I’m excited by the opportunity to bring my experience from 10 years at Tourism and Events Queensland and the past decade working with leading destinations globally that have embraced the TNQ approach.

We need to be clear in our vision that people come to Tropical North Queensland because of its extraordinary reputation for awesome nature-based activities, authentic Indigenous experiences and adventurous spirit. It’s the people behind these experiences who drive that. Visitors want real connections and these are made through authentic experiences that they can’t do anywhere else.

As businesses, we need to regain our voice and make sure the message we’re spreading highlights our vision. Businesses need to engage with their customers, know what their unique selling point is, and utilise digital capabilities to frequently tell their story.

I’ve been spending time with the amazing team here at TTNQ and we are excited by the opportunities ahead for the region. Tropical North Queensland has a remarkable tourism story to tell. I’m looking forward to working with the TTNQ team and local industry to unify our tourism message under one banner and cut through the increasingly cluttered marketing environment to get the world inspired again about Tropical North Queensland.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer

9 October 2019