CEO Column - February

A word from Townsville Enterprise CEO, Patricia O’Callaghan...

This week it was front page news that the Tigerair flights are exceeding all expectations with thousands of southern visitors pouring into Townsville for a North Queensland holiday.

The conversation following this news was interesting. For many of us, we know southerners love this part of the world and a convenient and affordable connection was a combination for success. Others, however, seem surprised and questioned whether Townsville was really a ‘tourism’ town.

For decades, this region has welcomed over one million visitors each year to experience reef, rainforest, outback and major events. There is hard economic data to back this up, with more than $1 billion injected into our economy every year from an industry that supports over 4,000 local jobs. So, the answer is clearly yes, we are a tourism centre, but we can do much more in this space.

These days when we are competing for visitor dollars, our competitors are not simply Cairns and the Whitsundays, but the likes of Indonesia, Thailand and even Hawaii. It means we must think big if we want to remain globally competitive, and is why we are lobbying hard for new tourism infrastructure such as the Museum of Underwater Art, supporting Council’s proposed Strand Lagoon and new ecotourism experiences throughout North Queensland.

Our 2018 State and Federal Budget submissions outline these aspirations and whilst we have significant potential in this space, we are very proud of our tourism industry and tonight we celebrate three local businesses up for national honours at the Australian Tourism Awards - Paronella Park, Cobbold Village and Grand Hotel and Apartments. We wish them the best of luck!

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