TPDD AGM sets goals and identifies challenges for the future


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The region’s tourism body, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD), has set themselves a target of growing the industry to $550m by 2022, but tempered this confidence by highlighting global and local challenges.

This was among some of the messages from last night’s AGM held at Oaks Resorts Port Douglas, where the 2018/19 Annual Report was presented.

Negative messaging of the Great Barrier Reef, which continues to plague this region, was again underlined along with the unrest Brexit is causing in the UK and the forecast economic downturn in the US, coupled to the 2020 Presidential election, and the biggest monsoonal season in years “which decimated Christmas-New Year visitation”.

The region also had to live with a general reduction in demand for Australian travel from our key western markets.

In stressing that “times are tough”, and in recognising this fact, TPDD Executive Officer Tara Bennett said everyone needs to work together to overcome the micro and macro challenges.

With more than an 80 per cent of economic reliance on tourism, the Douglas Shire ranks as the most tourism-dependent region in Australia.

In her report, Ms Bennett said TPDD has tackled the aforementioned challenges through targeted marketing initiatives into key markets with an emphasis on boosting domestic shoulder season travel.

“These activities ranged from OTA partnerships, German and US wholesale campaigns, paid digital activity, website promotions and co-operative activity with TPDD members,” said Ms Bennett.

“I’m particularly proud of the growth we have achieved in our co-operative marketing activity across trade activity such as domestic educational, European sales calls and our first dedicated New Zealand mission, as well as the support for print advertising and online initiatives,” she said.

Ms Bennett said growing the economic contribution of tourism to the Douglas region is at the core of every activity we undertake. “This is why we have set the 2022 target of $550m which will signify steady growth between now and 2022.”

In terms of visitor numbers, there is an improvement compared to the 2017/18 financial year:

The region also received healthy recognition in October last year when it was recognised in the Top 100 sustainable destinations in the world.

“This recognition gave TPDD a renewed and fresh push on sustainable tourism and the growing demand for eco-focused visitor experiences,” said Ms Bennett.

In June last year, Douglas Shire Council called on local operators to become eco-certified and further cement the region as a world-class destination.

They added that an eco-tourism wave could help Douglas Shire businesses and tourism operators tap into rapidly growing international markets. This push is part of Council’s vision to become the first eco-certified region in Australia.

TPDD’s current board directors are:

Ben Woodward, cApta group: General Director
Megan Bell, Quicksilver Group: General Director
Natalie Johnson, Flames of the Forest: Port Douglas Zone Director
Abigail Ralph, Daintree Discovery Centre: Cape Tribulation Zone Director
Ben Pratt, Mossman Gorge Centre: Mossman/Daintree Village Zone Director
Sheena Walshaw: TTNQ Director
Julia Leu: Douglas Shire Director
Liz Schibig- Edgar, Paradise Links Resort: General Director

Appointed directors and Chair/Vice Chair will be decided at the next Board meeting.

TPDD’s annual report goes to Council later this month and will then be made public.

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