Showcasing the natural beauty of Tropical North Queensland

Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s general manager, partnerships and events, Tara Bennett, outlines the region’s developments for 2024.

North Queensland is home to some of Australia’s most breathtaking natural beauty, and the popular tourist destination is set for a bumper 2024 with new experiences, new developments and sustainability initiatives to preserve the region for future generations.

Connections and capacity

Implementing our international recovery strategy for business events will be a key focus for our team in the US, Southeast Asia and New Zealand markets. Increased airline capacity and departures from Singapore to Cairns – with the introduction of wide-body aircraft featuring premium seats – will improve connectivity from Southeast Asia and increase opportunities for Indian and UK/European business events.

The establishment of new airline routes into Australia from the US will also increase competition and assist in our recovery in this key international market.

The redevelopment of Cairns Airport International Terminal is well underway, with stage one due for completion in mid-2024. Business events delegates will get their first glimpse of the region at the airport via new glass airbridges before enjoying a warm, comfortable welcome to Cairns with the refurbished arrivals area featuring local and Indigenous-sourced furnishings and artworks.

Ongoing investment

September 2023 saw the official opening of the Cairns Convention Centre’s expansion, which has added 10,500 square metres of floor space and provides a stunning new event venue for the operation of concurrent events. The new floor-to-ceiling glass expansion offers exceptional views across the water and mountains, giving delegates a feeling of immersion in the region.

The destination continues to introduce new experiences for business events, including a luxury 40-seat vessel offering a fully inclusive day to the outer Great Barrier Reef, including snorkelling, scuba diving and chef-prepared cuisine.

The region also recently welcomed a fast 32-metre vessel with a 200-person capacity, adding to our marine fleet’s exceptional offering for events seeking to privately charter as part of their program.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s general manager, partnerships and events, Tara Bennett. Photo: Tourism Tropical North Queensland.

Showcasing the region

Upon the conclusion of Dreamtime 2023 in Adelaide, it was announced that Cairns will be the host city for the event – which has been rebranded to Australia Next – in September 2024.

The event will allow our region to showcase the unique selling points of hosting an event in Cairns. Our natural assets – including the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest, two First Nations cultures, unique offsite venues and the walkability of the city – will be on show to the world.

Australia Next will also connect our passionate business events industry with incentive planners, iconic experiences and the incredible Tropical North Queensland lifestyle and personality.

Commitment to sustainability

Ensuring our region remains at the forefront of sustainable practices, carbon offset programs and eco-accreditation will continue to be elevated through our commitment to the destination-wide partnership with Reforest and other regional relationships, including Rainforest Rescue, Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Great Barrier Reef Legacy and the world-first Coral Biobank.

Future priorities also include increasing awareness of the walkable city and its benefits to health, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing opportunities to overlay First Nations culture knowledge and participation in business events programs.

This story appears in the Autumn issue of Spice, as part of our annual Hot Seat feature, which shines a spotlight on the MICE industry’s movers and shakers, and outlines what’s in store for the next 12 months.


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