CEO-Board Updates

September 2023 CEO Update

The positive impact of tourism on the environment and local community was emphasised at TTNQ’s first international media showcase in Japan last week attended by 25 Japanese media.

The Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Media Showcase at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo followed TTNQ’s trade Roadshow in Fukuoka and Sapporo, and prior to that TTNQ and 12 members joined Tourism and Events Queensland’s (TEQ) Queensland is Calling in Japan and South Korea.

TEQ’s Paul Summers introduced the Media Showcase presentation by Sam Sakamoto and myself. We were supported by TTNQ Marketing General Manager Lani Strathearn and seven operators whose products were highlighted by Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Ambassador, Japanese influencer Ryman Traveler, and Cairns Marathon Ambassadors Wakana and Mai Fukushima.

Japan has always been a solid market for Cairns & Great Barrier Reef with a strong connection to our community. There is much optimism for growth with the market expected to rebuild by 2025. May and June 2023 delivered 70% month-on-month recovery compared with May and June 2019.

Cairns is the fifth most visited destination in the world for one of the region’s largest Japanese wholesalers, while Osaka to Cairns remains the most searched route with Narita at No.3 and Haneda at No.6.

Access is improving with 19 to 21 direct flights to Cairns each week, depending on the season, compared to 14 flights in August 2019. One in three of the Japanese visitors to Australia include Cairns on their itinerary and with almost 400 domestic flights a week into our city we have the connectivity they need.

The Japanese media are concerned about over-tourism so we talked to them about Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre introducing a bus to eliminate excessive traffic, while operator capacity limits the number of people at reef sites such as the Frankland Islands.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway’s ecotourism leadership, the Crystalbrook Collection’s commitment to responsible luxury and reef restoration projects were among the examples of our destination’s focus on sustainability.

Japanese media will be invited to experience the region in November and TTNQ will partner with the Osaka Aquarium next year to relaunch their Great Barrier Reef exhibit to the media and public.


Mark Olsen
Chief Executive Officer