CEO-Board Updates

October 2023 CEO Update

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef received a resounding thumbs up from the 300 Aussie Specialists at G’Day Australia at the Cairns Convention Centre last week, while familiarisation tours before and after the event generated $2 million for Tropical North Queensland’s visitor economy.

These frontline sellers of Australian holidays participated in an intensive training program with 29 TNQ representatives who were among 130 Australian tourism operators from across Australia attending G’Day Australia.

More than half of the Aussie Specialists had never been to Australia placing our destination in the front seat to entice them to sell Cairns & Great Barrier Reef.  They participated in 30 familiarisation tours of Queensland including 26 visitor experiences in TNQ. This first-hand experience is crucial as demonstrated by some Western agents who had the misconception that Cairns was a youth destination, but are now keen to sell to families.

The famil program included 10 Great Barrier Reef products in Cairns and there was very positive feedback on the health of the reef. Wally the Māori wrasse starred in many social media accounts during the week.

The Aussie Specialists commented on the friendliness and knowledge of the region’s tour guides and enjoyed meeting the local owners of many products. They were especially impressed with the Master Reef Guide program.

The Welcome to Country at each event was appreciated and the Western agents enjoyed the cultural connection on tours with local Indigenous guides. Joining the painting class at Janbal Gallery and being able to take home their Indigenous-inspired painting was among the highlights.

The Western Aussie Specialists now have a better understanding of the size and diversity of Tropical North Queensland. We hope to increase the length of stay in region by at least an extra night to include some of the unique offerings they learnt about such as Back Country Bliss, Brett’s Outback Tasting Tours and Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre.

There was consensus that Australia remained a bucket list destination for the Western markets with Europe considered too busy for some travellers now. Multi-generational travel is a growing trend with self-catering apartments and resorts in demand for this sector.

They were especially appreciative of the prompt responses from Tropical North Queensland operators to wholesalers allowing a speedy turnaround for quotes.

Aviation pricing and connectivity remains a concern for the Western markets, but they were happy to learn about the increased capacity of Singapore Airlines next year and seasonal connections with Air New Zealand.

Confidence is high for Chinese New Year, although aviation connectivity and prices as well as hotel rates and availability are a challenge, especially for Approved Destination Scheme groups from China. The Singapore Airlines connection is attractive for high-end travellers from the first-tier cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

There is an appetite to increase the length of stay with additional touring, especially with new products in Port Douglas and Daintree. There was much interest in including Back Country Bliss in itineraries.

The Chinese loved the additional experiences that could be included on a Great Barrier Reef tour such as diving, scenic flights, Seawalking and Scuba-doo. The visibility of the stars in the clear night sky was the highlight of an evening Army Duck tour at Rainforestation Nature Park.

The Taiwanese agents were pleasantly surprised by the variety of experiences in TNQ. There were many requests by the agents from Singapore and India for our presentation which gave them a greater understanding of the products. They were particularly excited about the extra capacity with Singapore Airlines from March.

Japan’s love affair with Cairns & Great Barrier Reef continued with a few tears shed at the end of their visit. One agent even took the time to write that she had fallen in love with the people and atmosphere of Cairns. Each of the agents went away confident of selling Cairns & Great Barrier Reef.

Delivered by Tourism Australia in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland and supported by TTNQ, G’Day Australia was the first time the international mega familiarisation and workshop event has been held since 2019. This project received grant funding from the Australian Government, under the International Tourism Recovery Program administered by Austrade.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer