TTNQ names new board directors

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) has announced the appointment of two new directors to its board.

Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett (pictured, far left) joins the board as the Cairns North Zone director, alongside Cairns Convention Centre general manager Janet Hamilton (pictured, second from right) as the new Cairns South Zone director.

The pair join current directors Ken Chapman, Norris Carter, Sam Ferguson, Paul Fagg, and Mark Evans.

TTNQ chief executive Mark Olsen and outgoing chair Wendy Morris delivered the news alongside the 2019-20 annual report at a virtual annual general meeting last Friday.

Olsen said the region’s tourism industry had increased visitor expenditure above its target of $3.5 billion in the period, growing the domestic market share to 11.8 per cent and international market share to 12.6 per cent.

“Interest in our new domestic brand ‘Cairns & Great Barrier Reef’ is strong, which is allowing us to outstrip many of our competitor destinations,” he said.

“TTNQ generated $65 million in publicity, far exceeding our target of $50 million per annum and reached 12.8 million viewers through our digital channels.”

Olsen said the organisation had worked alongside Tourism and Events Queensland, and its retail partners, to ensure Cairns is top-of-mind. As a result, Cairns is now the most Googled regional tourism destination in Australia, he said.

“TTNQ helped bring business into the destination by delivering more than 85,000 referrals to member businesses,” Olsen said.

“Advocacy on behalf of our members grew in intensity as COVID-19 unfolded and became our core focus during lockdown when marketing activities were suspended.

“We were the first regional tourism organisation to ask the federal government for a wage subsidy when we met with the Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham in his last visit before the lockdown.

“Earlier in the year at the round table with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, TTNQ put forward the Growing Tourism initiative resulting in a $25 million infrastructure fund.

“TTNQ’s lobbying efforts also secured $2.4 million in marketing funds with $1.5 million allocated to 30 June 2020.

“Funding partners continue to pay a crucial role in assisting TTNQ to increase both market share and share of voice.”

Olsen said securing a five-year funding agreement with Cairns Regional Council had finally given TTNQ the sustainable funding necessary to meet its vision of being known as Australia’s number one nature-based and ecotourism destination, supported by the industry and its community.

He also thanked Wendy Morris for her “long hours and passion” during her three-year term as chair, which ended at the annual general meeting.