Tourism operators in the Douglas Shire have been buoyed by an announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden committing to further discussions surrounding the opening of a trans-Tasman travel bubble as the Shire again looks to welcome tourists to the region.
The possibility of an international travel safe zone between Australia and New Zealand, Douglas Shire’s third-largest international visitor market, is a welcome glimmer of hope in the region’s road to tourism recovery.
Over the weekend, the Queensland government eased travel restrictions, with Tourism Port Douglas Daintree CEO Tara Bennett, welcoming the move which allowed for short drives and visits to shops. With the Douglas Shire over 60 kilometres to the north of Cairns and 80 kilometres to the east of the Tablelands, a resurgence in local tourism for regional areas will “need additional consideration”, Ms Bennett said if the eased restrictions are to benefit the Douglas Shire.
Moving forward, it is likely regional tourism, followed by intrastate, Queensland tourism will kickstart what Douglas Shire tourism operators hope will be a domestic surge in September if not before from Victoria and New South Wales – Douglas Shire’s two largest domestic travel markets.
In preparation for a tourism resurgence, Australia’s tourism bodies have been on the front foot, offering a range of relief measures and the provision of webinars and tool kits for the industry.
Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) placed a freeze on membership with renewals being paused until at least October and have been posting regular updates available to all businesses and residents of the Douglas Shire.
In conjunction with the updates, last month TPDD produced a marketing guide to provide local operators with ideas to consider implementing immediately or in the future.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland also waived membership fees for the remainder of 2020 allowing members to use the money to participate in upcoming domestic campaigns which will begin targeting the drive market. The organisation has also rolled out webinars and short update videos enabling members and the wider community to stay abreast of the organisation’s activity.
The Australia Tourism Export Council (ATEC) rolled out the “Road to Recovery Tourism Tutorials”, a 36-week program providing the tourism industry with tools and tips enabling them to be ready for a tourism bounce back.
Tourism Events Queensland produced an industry update series outlining the organisation’s six key areas of focus for recovery post-COVID-19 – initial planning and action, events, experiences, aviation, research, and industry engagement.
Global market updates have also been posted weekly to help Queensland tourism businesses gain current insight into the state of travel and the impact of COVID-19 around the world.
Tourism Australia launched a weekly coronavirus webinar series featuring an incredibly diverse range of guest speakers from tourism marketing, politics, economics, mental health, and taxation, all of which are available in video format for those who missed the live stream.
Photo ‘Storm before the Calm’ captured by DALE PRIEM