Stepping up for regional tourism…and not?


In a year of unprecedented uncertainty, Cairns Regional Council (CRC) have stepped up to the plate and committed to a five-year, multi-million-dollar funding agreement with Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ).

  • CRC demonstrates clear understanding of the significance of tourism and independent destination marketing
  • CRC and TTNQ funding agreement worth $16.5 million over five years
  • Douglas Shire Council (DSC) and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) funding agreement worth $250 000 over one year

Many tourism operators in the Douglas Shire are still shaking their heads in response to the significant reduction in funding by the Douglas Shire Council to Tourism Port Douglas Daintree in June this year.

The Council resolution on 30th June 2020 passed 3 to 2, guaranteeing only 12 months funding to TPDD at close to 50% less than previous years.  Prior to 2020, TPDD, the Douglas Shire’s only industry recognised, independent, professional, destination marketing organisation, was provided surety to champion the region and their 160 plus members who collectively operate over 180 products through a three year, $480 000 per annum Council funding agreement.

Last week, TTNQ announced it had secured a $16.5 million, five-year funding agreement with Cairns Regional Council.

In recognising the significance of locally based, destination marketing, Cairns Mayor Bob Manning noted there had, “never been a more important time for funding for our tourism sector.”

The five-year funding agreement includes $2.9 million for the 2020/2021 financial year, and $3.4 million per year for the subsequent four years, translating to a 15% increase in year-on-year core funding.  Additionally, Cairns Regional Council will continue to provide support for events, industry development and aviation.

TTNQ would, “now have the certainty needed to build long-term trade and market relationships, to pivot our marketing efforts more strongly into the domestic market, and rebuild partnerships as international borders start to come into play.”

TTNQ CEO Mark Olsen

Previously, TPDD had the benefit of working on both short to medium term projects while ensuring a long-term vision through funding surety, unlike TTNQ who until now, had not enjoyed the same level of Council support.

As the Douglas Shire reels from the complete shutdown of international tourism and the slashing of visitors from its two largest domestic markets – Victoria and New South Wales, and with border restrictions seemingly in place until at least Christmas, the question of TPDD’s long term funding must continue to be raised if the tourism sector is to survive and once again thrive.

While the Douglas Shire has always attracted a strong domestic market, our neighbours in Cairns have now been armed with significant funds to challenge our dominance as the Far North’s domestic holiday hot spot.  While the Douglas Shire falls within the area marketed by TTNQ and will benefit from the CRC’s forward thinking and support of tourism, those dollars will be used to promote towns, tours and tourist attractions north to Cape York, west to the Atherton Tablelands and Undara, and south to Mission Beach.  

Moving forward, let us hope Douglas Shire Council steps up and commits to the longevity of TPDD’s destination marketing through a long term funding agreement as the Cairns Regional Council have done with TTNQ. 

Frankly, our tourism sector – the largest single source of employment in the region, needs them to.


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