A strong majority of local government representatives have put their support behind further investigation of an opt-in visitor levy for local governments with 85% of attendees at the Queensland Local Government Conference voting for it in Cairns yesterday.
This is a significant step forward in the journey towards sustainable funding for destination marketing, and TTNQ has welcomed the vote on the motion sponsored by Cairns Regional Council.
Marketing funds are critical to rebuild our $1 billion a year international visitor markets and to maintain the incredible share we have secured of the domestic market. A levy will give us the certainty needed to plan ahead to grow the visitor economy sustainably.
After a bumper school holiday period with occupancies at 85-90%, visitor numbers are slowing as we move into summer, the time of year when pre-pandemic international visitors would normally boost our holiday arrival figures.
Events such as the inaugural Crankworx Cairns have helped to extend interstate visitation and will eventually build international potential thanks to a global publicity reach of millions.
Business events have also played a role in driving up visitor spend with 13 conferences and two incentives bringing 2,600 delegates into the region during October injecting $3.8 million into the economy.
While forward bookings are stronger than previous years, without international groups and FITs we are seeing pre-booked accommodation dropping below 60% occupancy in the next few weeks, and down below 40% occupancy pre-booked in November.
TTNQ’s spring campaign is in the market right now, and our month-long summer campaign launches on 13 November to drive awareness and conversion in the domestic market to help bring more Australian travellers into the region before the Christmas holiday period.
While we await the outcome of the Federal Budget the TTNQ team has stepped up our engagement with our international markets.
I have just returned from TravMedia’s The Summit in Singapore to speak about sustainable tourism and found very strong interest in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, just as the team has found in other international markets.
During October we attended International Media Marketplace Asia in Singapore, IMEX in Las Vegas, Tourism Australia’s Marketplace Japan, TEQ Reconnect Japan and TA Marketplace Korea.
Our international PR agencies are generating great results and initiatives such as the Eco-travel documentary we launched with the assistance of Tourism Australia has already generated $4.2 million in publicity in the UK and US.
In the past two years we have driven record domestic visitor expenditure and visitor nights in our region with the support of the State and Federal Governments’ recovery grants. Sustainable funding for destination marketing through a mechanism like the visitor levy could see us sustain or even grow our market share delivering benefits for the whole region.
Chief Executive Officer