A new global campaign to “recalibrate and reset” the image of the Great Barrier Reef is part of a strategy discussed at a meeting with between Tourism and Events Queensland chairman Brett Godfrey and Cairns industry leaders.
The high-level meeting follows the shock announcement that Cathay Pacific will pull out of Cairns in October after 26 years.
“It is very difficult (to attract flights), but it doesn’t mean we should stop trying,” Godfrey told The Cairns Post.
“We want to see more carriers coming and that might not be international carriers.”
There has been some robust discussion around the marketing focus of TEQ which has become ‘experience-based’, rather than destination. However, Godfrey dismissed concern that Brisbane was outpacing Tropical North Queensland in attracting international visitors.
“We’ve got to stop being that parochial that we think people are going to come to Brisbane and stay in Brisbane,” he said. “They’re going to disperse.
“So it makes more sense to market experiences rather than one-stop destinations.”
Labor candidate for Leichhardt Elida Faith was also confident the region could prosper without the Cathay Pacific service.
Announcing a tourism package for the Far North region, which focuses on getting more tourists up to regional Cape York, Faith said the government wants to see more tourism in Cairns, right up to the Cape and in the Torres Strait.
“We’re going to be delivering $100,000 to Thursday Island so they can kick the tyres on a new information centre and we’re going to deliver $1 million to the Cooktown Discovery Festival so they can build their concert infrastructure,” she told The Cairns Post
“We have some really great tourism plans. We have got a comprehensive regional tourism package.
“We are working with the state government and we will continue to have discussions, and I will continue to have discussions, with government to continue to attract flights to Cairns.
“We’ve got $250 million regional tourism package, and part of that includes $25 million to specifically go to Tourism Australia so they can start advertising domestically and work with airlines and governments to attract more tourists here.”