Challenge set in Cairns’ bid to rise to tourism top
From the Cairns Post, 5th OCt 2014
FAR North tourism chief Alex de Waal has challenged the entire Cairns region to step up provision of “extra special customer service” to the area’s tourists in a bid to boost return visitors.
The Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer said the region needed to strive for “best imaginable outcomes, not just fantastic outcomes” when it came to wooing tourists to the top end of the state, and this required exemplary service from all businesses and residents, regardless of whether they are directly affiliated with tourism or not.
The challenge comes after Cairns was voted sixth in “Australia’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience 2014” from a list of 30 short-listed locations in a national consumer poll by travel experience provider Experience Oz.
The city edged in just above its southeastern counterpart the Sunshine Coast on the list, but lost out to fellow Great Barrier Reef gateway the Whitsundays, which scored runner-up behind the winner, Western Australia’s Rottnest Island.
The survey was the result of just under 2000 votes, with participants asked to consider several criteria, including the overall “Aussie nature” of the destination, the variety of experiences on offer, the destination’s unique geographical features, attractions and activities and the culture or history of the place.
Cairns has climbed three places since last year’s survey, when it placed ninth, just behind the Sunshine Coast.
But Mr de Waal said that there was no reason Cairns shouldn’t be top of the pack and urged locals to get in the game of actively welcoming visitors.
“We should be No.1 on anybody’s list, and that should be our aspiration,” he said.
“The more the community understands and respects how important visitors are to this region and that they leave us feeling like they have been respected, appreciated and honoured guests, the more we’ll see our position rise to the point it should be in these surveys.”
He said the city had the assets to draw the 2.3 million visitors it does, but it needed the “right community sentiment, a positive attitude and a collective focus on customer service” to accompany them.
He also hinted at a new initiative from TTNQ to be launched next month, which he said would ensure the region was providing the best customer service possible, from the beaches and boats, to bars and shops.
“We’re not just challenging the entire community to provide extra special customer service, we’re also going to be providing businesses all the mechanisms and tools to achieve this, and to treat our visiting customers with the respect they deserve to ensure we get them coming back,” he said.
“In terms of competing for global tourism demand, we can always do better and competition is red hot, so we need to be on our game.
“Of course it’s great to be in the Top 10, but the more enthusiastic and positive we all are about our destination, the better our results are going to be.”