Tourism organisation partners with questionable Online Travel Agent


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Just days after being exposed for “pressure selling, false discounting claims and hidden charges”, leading Online Travel Agency, Expedia, will be partnering with Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) on a tactical marketing campaign.

Expedia Group said in a promotional statement that TPDD is partnering with the Expedia Media Solutions team on a tactical marketing campaign.

“The campaign will run on our Expedia Australia and Wotif Australia websites from 1 March to 31 March.

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“This domestic campaign will be based around on-site media banners that link to a landing page featuring activities, flight and hotel deals for Port Douglas and the Daintree. Such great exposure for our beautiful destination,” the statement said.

Tourism Port Douglas Daintree is the sole recognised tourism marketing organisation for the Douglas Shire council region, in Tropical North Queensland.

The Expedia campaign comes hot on the heels of the major Global Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) signing undertakings to stop “pressure selling, false discounting claims and hidden charges” following 14 months of investigation by the UK Competition & Market Authorities (CMA).

In what has been labelled a landmark decision, action has been taken against and Expedia – who control 85 per cent of the Global OTA Booking Revenues Market Share – along with four other OTA Brands: Trivago, Agoda, and eBookers.

Expedia Group is an American global travel technology company. Its websites, which are primarily travel fare aggregators and travel metasearch engines, include, CheapTickets,, HomeAway,,, Orbitz, Travelocity, Trivago, and

A perplexed Gerry Ireland, Director of local Tourism Advocacy Group Port Douglas Direct, questioned whether this was a carefully thought through step.

“Given the recent outcome by the UK CMA Watchdog, many Tourism Providers may be wondering why TPDD has entered a Promotional Agreement with Expedia, who are one of the six OTA’s exposed by the CMA for ‘sharp practices’.

“I question how much thought went into this decision. For starters, the timing could not be worse, and you would think this would have been a factor,” he said.

TPDD Executive Officer, Tara Bennett, was yesterday approached for comment and despite Newsport agreeing to her request for a postponement until today, she still failed to respond.

Newsport’s questions included:

  • Did she think it was appropriate to engage in the partnership just days after the CMA ruling?
  • Was the decision taken by her or the board? 
  • What is hoped to be gained from the partnership for the Douglas Shire Council region?
  • How will the campaign operate?
  • What is its time frame and who stands to gain the most?
  • If the agreement was sealed before the CMA decision, was consideration was given to cancelling it after learning of the CMA ruling? 

Campaign information:
Campaign Dates: 1 March 2019 - 31 March 2019
Websites: Wotif AU and Expedia AU
Destination: Port Douglas and Daintree Region
Travel Period: 1 March 2019 to 31 December 2019 (Recommended)
Minimum Discount: 10%



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