WITH a strong Christmas and New Year season behind us and a buoyant Chinese New Year to look forward to, Tropical North Queensland has a very happy 2016 in the making.
The region’s diverse offering with our dual World Heritage areas, more than 100 ways to see the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback easily accessed from the coast ensures visitors can tailormake their holiday to suit their interests.
Tropical North Queensland delivers a holiday with quality products in a safe environment, making it a popular choice for Australian and international travellers.
And with the Australian dollar dipping to US68c last week, travel to destinations such as ours becomes even more attractive.
The most recent international and national visitor surveys show just how popular our destination is with Tropical North Queensland the No.1 region in Queensland for international holidays and record spending by domestic visitors. These great results prompted the Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones to issue a media release saying the strong rise in holiday travel to Tropical North Queensland resulted in Queensland’s best yet year in domestic tourism.
The 2.8 million visitors to Tropical North Queensland and $3.1 billion expenditure for the
year ending September exceeded Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s targets, and there are signs this forward trajectory should continue.
Chinese New Year next month is jump-starting the year with some 100 charter flights
from mainland China and Hong Kong as well as additional domestic flights adding to our four weekly Cathay Pacific services. We have an early Easter to look forward to in March and a strong calendar of more than 60 events throughout the year to attract visitors to Tropical North Queensland.
Our strategy to draw visitors to the region during shoulder seasons will be boosted as new
and existing events move to these seasons. The Professional Bull Riders, for example, has moved to March. We have some top international events this year with the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship moving to Cairns in June and the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup returning in April. The RACQ North Queensland Games will bring 5000 competitors
in June and the highly anticipated NRL match featuring Premiership winners North
Queensland Cowboys in July will attract strong numbers. In between we have events across many sports including BMX, AFL, baseball, cricket, running and cycling, as well as a mix of cultural festivities such as the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the Cairns Ukulele Festival.
The conference sector is looking strong as the Cairns Convention Centre has a good mix of
association and corporate events booked across the medical, scientific and agricultural sectors. The 1500-passenger Pacific Eden will homeport in Cairns bringing an $8 million boost to the region as passengers fly in and out to join her. Our Reef fleet has expanded with new and upgraded vessels to cater for the anticipated interest following Tourism Australia’s coastal campaign and Sir David Attenborough’s series on the Great Barrier Reef, plus a worldclass aquarium is under construction.
While Tourism Tropical North Queensland helps drive the positive results we are enjoying, ultimately it is the tourism industry that deserves the accolades. We are fortunate to have many businesses in our region that deliver quality tourism experiences.
This was demonstrated last week in TripAdvisor’s 2016 Travellers’ Choice Awards where five Tropical North Queensland operators were among the top 25 hotels.