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TARGETED marketing activities with a focus on boosting the domestic shoulder season helped stabilise visitor numbers to the Douglas Shire last financial year.

The 2018-19 Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) Annual Report, which was tabled at the Ordinary Council Meeting today, has highlighted the organisation’s new strategic direction to become the world’s leading sustainable destination and grow Douglas tourism to $550 million by 2022.

It also detailed the organisation’s extensive marketing campaigns that achieved more than $4 million worth of media value for the region.

Tourism Research Australia reported a slight increase in visitor numbers (domestic 7%, international 4%), generating an estimated expenditure of $520 million.

TPDD Chief Executive Officer Tara Bennett said the drive market was the star segment during a tough year for the industry.

“While the year started well coming off two years of double-digit growth, the traditional easing off of domestic visitation was coupled with a greater than normal drop across both domestic and international markets due to the monsoonal season,” she said.

“Despite this, our tourism operators banded together on collaborative marketing activity and our industry started to see some green shoots of recovery in May and June.

“I am particularly proud of new marketing initiatives such as the inaugural TPDD Domestic Mega Famil, which saw 35 travel agents visit the region in December, and the first dedicated New Zealand mission.”

According to an index report from ‘Destination Think’ that analyses customer online discussions, the region topped a Tourism Sentiment Score for satisfied and happy visitors out of 100 destinations from around the world.

The Holiday Hangover digital campaign recorded 3,830 entries, an increase of 173% on the previous year, reaching 139,830 users and fostering 11,353 engaging actions.

The Expedia Campaign, which ran onsite media banners across Expedia

Australia and Wotif Australia websites received over $640,000 in bookings, meaning that every $1 spent generated $60 in booking revenue.

A continued push via trade partnerships targeting inbound travel assisted with visitor night growth in the US and New Zealand markets.

Douglas Shire Council allocated $488,293 to TPDD in the 2018/19 Annual Budget.

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu, who is also a TPDD board member, said the report details the extensive work the organisation does to market the region.

“The tourism industry is so important to our local economy and it is fantastic to see such effective marketing strategies laid out in the report,” she said.

“Council will continue to partner with industry to build, diversify and promote our economy, particularly during the challenging times and it is heartening to see our industry work together to minimise impacts on our region.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tara Bennett and the TPDD team’s dedicated work for our region in the past 12 months.”

The full Annual Report can be found, here.

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