A tourism pioneer who had a close encounter with a whale says the gentle giants have become bolder in their interactions with visitors to the Great Barrier Reef. Tourism Tropical North Queensland manager Wendy Morris photographed a dwarf minke whale she had been lucky enough to snorkel with off Port Douglas on Sunday. Ms Morris said four groups of those little-known whales saw the ship at a local reef. It was said to be a marvellous sight, to observe the rise in whale numbers in the 45 years Morris had been researching the Reef. The Reef Biosearch founder said the whales seemed to become more interested in their dealings with people. “I think whale watching is another bow in our quiver of attractions for the Reef,” Ms Morris stated. “What’s extraordinary, is minke whales and humpback whales are dropping calves. “If you head out, you might be lucky enough to see that.”
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch will lead a philosophical inquiry at the Cairns Convention Centre now to encourage Northern Australia’s tourism industry. Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s new chief executive officer Pip Close and manager Wendy Morris will be among those speaking at the inquiry. Their written submission calls for the establishment of a $5 million Northern Australia bid fund to encourage the appeal of business tourism, especially during off-peak periods. It states, it provides a 100 percent guarantee of return on investment as though the bid is unsuccessful no funds are obtained.
The Cairns Convention Centre’s future will also be discussed, together with overall Director Ross Steele’s echoing the call for a business tourism bid fund to invest in business management mobile data capture systems. Cairns Airport CEO Norris Carter also made a submission calling for Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility funds to be redirected to export-building jobs which might not provide immediate returns sufficient to attract 100 percent private investment. He noticed the airport was actively pursuing new flight paths from South East Asia, North Asia and the Middle East. The committee convened in Port Douglas yesterday and will head to Townsville tomorrow before wrapping up this round of meetings in Brisbane on Thursday.
Mantra Group has taken the chance after Cairns was tipped to be the best performing travel destination in Australia at 2017. Mantra Group chief executive Bob East stated the far North Queensland town is exploding with new flights, which is creating strong demand for accommodation providers in the area.
The higher air-capacity, flight affordability and the proliferation of low cost carriers to Cairns, especially from Asia and along with an active domestic market, has fostered occupancies in the past few decades. Cairns is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented out of Asia, applying for commercial owner builder constructions insurance to take advantage of the accommodation demand surge, especially with its large leisure travel market brought by Cairns’ proximity, single flight offering and favourable time zone. 5 million passengers passed through Cairns Airport this year, a record high which not only bolstered business in Cairns but also from the neighboring holiday hot areas of Port Douglas and Palm Cove.
Mantra manager of sales, earnings and distribution Luke Moran stated occupancies in Mantra Group properties in Cairns performed well over the industry-average this season, according to their asset tracking system’s reporting dashboard, which is trading at 83.5 percent for the year to date, and occupancies are forecasted to rise further in 2017. RevPAR in the Cairns properties has increased by almost 12 percent in 2016, making it among their fastest climbing destinations. Moran stated that they are also seeing a smoothing of the city’s traditional seasonal demand curve with high occupancies being attained all year round.
Other major destinations in Australia this season are Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Noosa, Hobart and Launceston and they are also forecasted to continue to perform strongly in the new year. These increasing occupancy rates and RevPAR growth throughout the country are encouraging a wave of new-build resorts for Mantra.