The staged road to tourism revival


Tara Bennett


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Tara Bennett, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) provides insight into how the local tourism body is working to bring back visitors. Image: Suppled.

Almost every tourism and associated business in Douglas is doing it incredibly tough right now, living through this interminable waiting game, waiting to see when we can get back to doing what we do so well, delivering incredible travel experiences to people from all over.

The new constant is change and leveraging off potential opportunities as they open, this must have a customer centric focus and observing what the “new” customer is looking for as we prepare to navigate this new world.

Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) is formulating our roadmap for the revival of tourism in a staged approach: regional drive market, intrastate, interstate and eventually international travel.

The team is currently fleshing out regional collateral and content for food tourism, accessible travel, sustainability, business events and destination weddings as well as sharing destination information through our trade channels while many travel agents use this time for training.

Regional drive market activities will first target Cairns and the Tablelands residents for day trips until greater recreational distances and non-essential travel are permitted. 

TPDD had been advocating for an increase of the 50 kilometre limit as such restrictions were preventing significant travel from large centres such as Cairns and parts of the Tablelands. Further easing of restrictions announced on Friday by the State Government will see the limit expanded to 150 kilometres for day trips.

TPDD will now continue to advocate for a further easing to allow overnight stays within the 150 kilometre limit.

The next stage will see our drive market activity targeting south to Townsville, across to Mt Isa and regional Queensland. This will be executed via digital channels, radio, television and print media.

Intrastate travel will see South East Queensland become our target market as soon as the Queensland Government indicates state-wide easing of restrictions. This will again be through digital channels, targeted print media and supporting the broad range of activities being developed by Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Tourism Events Queensland.

Interstate will present the greatest opportunity for the region and is being worked on currently through consumers dreaming phase, as restrictions for this sector ease TPDD and distribution partners are focusing on converting those dreams into bookings to fill the back end of 2020. The proposed Trans Tasman bubble will also present opportunities from one of our most loyal inbound markets.

All of our activities are planned to align with the work being undertaken by Douglas Shire Council, Tourism Australia, Tourism Events Queensland and Tourism Tropical North Queensland ensuring Douglas is well positioned to leverage off the campaigns being developed. We need to remember that we are stronger together.

Each business now needs to work through their staged process and identify how you can adapt and target each stage while considering your customers, what they want and are comfortable with in social distancing.

Be prepared to be diverse, target a mixed market and achieve strength in collaboration. Now is the time to get ready, ensure your content is pitch perfect, your front of house sparkling, and your website, imagery and videos need to be the best they have ever been.

Remember TPDD, your local tourism organisation, is an important partner to share your offering and to leverage off the regional activity that will be undertaken.

It is also time to start preparing your business to ensure you have a COVID-19 Safe workplace when trade resumes. The Safe Work Australia website is a great resource to map out how to do this.


Tara Bennett is the Chief Executive Officer at Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD)

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