30-year tourism veteran new chair of TPDD



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TPDD board: Abigail Ralph, Ben Woodward, Megan Bell, Christopher Northam, CEO Tara Bennett, Ben Pratt, Sheena Walshaw, and Lisa Golding. (Absent - Cam Charlton). Image: Supplied.
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A 30-year veteran in the tourism industry has been appointed the new chair of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD).

Kleinhardt Business Consultants Director, Cam Charlton, who specialises in regional development and improving tourism destinations, will help lead a post-COVID tourism recovery in Douglas Shire.

The appointment was made at last night’s annual general meeting.

Mr Charlton has more than 30 years’ experience in consulting to the tourism industry and in destination development and promotion. He also has extensive experience in regional economic development.

His work in this regard has been undertaken both throughout Australia and internationally. 

According to a TPDD statement, Mr Charlton said he is committed to ensuring the destination presentation and promotion is positioned to best appeal to and meet, and indeed surpass, visitor expectations particularly given the dramatic shift in market segment accessibility to the region.

“The Port Douglas Daintree region is a real jewel in the crown of the tropical north Queensland experience. We need to keep it front of mind for both new and repeat visitors,” he said.

At the AGM, Megan Bell and Christopher Northam were elected as General Directors and outgoing Chair Ben Pratt re-elected as the Mossman Daintree Village Zone Director.

Mr Pratt said he was delighted with Mr Charlton’s appointment. “Cam is a proven and professional operator.

His expertise in tourism, particularly regional development, destination planning and sustainable business growth will be pivotal to navigate this organisation and our local industry through this challenging period,” he said.

The meeting was advised that despite the challenging third and fourth quarter, the 2019/20 year started with visitation up on previous years and marketing activity in place to continue the momentum.

In December 2019 the Douglas Shire became the first region to achieve Ecotourism Australia ECO Destination Certification, a massive result of the collaboration of Douglas Shire Council, TPDD and the tourism industry, followed by the region receiving the global award for Culture and Communities at the Green Destinations annual awards recognising the achievements of Mossman Gorge Centre.

TPDD Chief Executive Officer Tara Bennett said visitation was tracking well until COVID-19 pandemic shut down the industry earlier this year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic crossed into Australia in March effectively shutting down the tourism industry by Easter,” she said.

“As visitation and marketing halted, TPDD’s role adapted to a position of industry support, advocacy and a conduit for the fast and furious flow of updates being released.”

“In a post-COVID landscape, TPDD is poised to continue promoting our spectacular region to domestic travellers and in time select international markets.”

Other marketing highlights include:

  • Douglas receiving the highest global consumer sentiment ranking up 3 points from 2018 from Destination Think!
  • 140k copies of Discover Paradise in June to stimulate travel as restrictions eased briefly
  • 8 Australian Society of Travel Writers familiarisation streams
  • Regional integrated summer campaign with TVC and digital member promotions
  • Development of sustainability content showcasing local champions
  • TPDD digital assets continued to grow with engagement up 30%.

TPDD board:

  • Chair and Appointed Director - Cam Charlton, Senior Business Advisor, Kleinhardt Business Consultants
  • Mossman & Daintree Village Zone Director - Ben Pratt, General Manager, Mossman Gorge Centre
  • Tourism Tropical North Queensland Director - Sheena Walshaw, Director, Trailblazers
  • Douglas Shire Council Director - Lisa Golding, Team Leader Community & Economic Development, Douglas Shire Council
  • Cape Tribulation Zone Director - Abigail Ralph, Manager, Daintree Discovery Centre
  • General Directors - Megan Bell, Media and Business Events Manager, Quicksilver Group, Christopher Northam, Area Manager, Accor Group, and Ben Woodward, Director of Sales & Marketing, CaPTA Group

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