Queensland's Saviours?

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Queensland's Saviours?


by Mat Churchill

Meet the people who Tourism Queensland are pinning their hopes on to spread the word that our State is open for business, and that we're waiting for the world to visit.

As part of TQ's 'Global Mega-Familiarisation' which has seen 200 international and domestic media representatives on tour throughout Queensland, 90 have spent the last week in Tropical North Queensland experiencing the best our region has to offer.

The initiative is funded through the joint Federal and State Government $10 million global tourism recovery strategy under the banner of 'Nothing Beats Queensland'.

The Newsport was invited to join a group of journalists from major publications in Ireland, the UK, Germany, India, New Zealand, and the Netherlands as they experienced the Daintree rainforest on Sunday as part of an action packed itinerary.

Having spent the previous few days white water rafting, sky diving, scuba diving, and generally living up life in the tropics, it was a tired but no less enthusiastic group who left the Peninsula Boutique Hotel after having a gentle stroll through the Sunday Market.

The day consisted of a visit to the Daintree Discovery Centre, Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours, and a short stop at Cape Tribulation.

Gareth Rose, a journalist for The Scotsman in the UK said that perception plays an important part in people's decision making when looking for a holiday destination.

"I've been to Australia once before but not this far north. Over the last four or five years there's been almost two or three, it seems, huge natural disasters per year and I think what happens is that people genuinely believe the damage is the same in each one.

"Certainly coming here and travelling around there are no physical signs, and not just here but throughout Cairns that we've seen. . .including the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone we speak to they say tourism is down, and as you drive along everything you pass is either a hotel or a tourist attraction . . .so you can see how important it is to the area.

Mr Rose said Tropical North Queensland is a location unique in its diverse range of activities available.

"We've had two or three activities a day and I think that's also quite telling in that there's not many places, there are obviously rivals to North Queensland in terms of having this kind of climate and rainforest, but also at the same time to be able to go sky diving and white water rafting, all these kinds of things shows the breadth of things to do and the diversity. And also every time we do anything it's against this incredible setting.

"It's interesting to hear that people may think that the Australian news gave the wrong impression in terms of the floods. Someone said that because we'd had (hurricane) Katrina not that long ago, and the kind of devastation in New Orleans was huge, and I think people equate that here and it's just not true."

According to a TQ spokesperson, journalists travelling on the all expenses paid 'famil' (which includes business class fights) are under no contractual obligation to produce articles or features for their publications, however those contacted by The Newsport indicated their willingness to produce at least one story.

The TQ spokesperson said the total cost of the journalists visit to Queensland was approximately $700,000.

What are your thoughts on TQ's 'Global Mega-Familiarisation'? Have your say below.