Tourism in Far North Queensland set for massive boom

PATRICK CONNORS

 

The Far North could be set for a big tourism boom in the coming year. This past weekend, Queensland’s tourism heavyweights headed to Cairns for Tourism and Events Queensland’s annual board meeting, the first time the meeting had been held in the Far North. The chairman of Tourism and Events Queensland, Bob East, stated North Queensland was on-track to experience a huge boom in terms of event opportunities.

Mr East, who is also CEO of the Mantra Group, described how hotels in the region were experiencing some of their highest rates in years. “This season will possibly be the best that we’ve had in Cairns over the last 10 years”  he said

Mr. East also cited Cairns relative proximity to Asia, which allows the region to attract interest from many overseas tourists and holidaymakers. “The largest market in the world’s history is growing just on your doorstep. That means there’s an extra 2.5 billion people (in Asia) who can afford to travel in the next 15 years.” “Cairns is geographically fortunate in that it’s such an easy step off point to the Great Barrier Reef.”

Vania Bau, events manager at the Cairns Convention Centre stated the city has experienced a definite boom in the entertainment side of things. “For the past 10 years, we’ve seen a bit of a downswing in terms of tourism in the region. But I think in the past two years it’s definitely reversed and seems to be on the rise.”

Sports in the region are also seeing an upswing. Yesterday, it was announced that the AFL would host a match in the Far North, with the Gold Coast Suns and the Western Bulldogs headed to the region in 2016. Mr. East also mentioned an interest in getting the NRL to bring the North Queensland Cowboys up from Townsville for more games in Cairns. “It’s been a tremendously good time for Cairns, especially for our industry.”

 

 

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