Bouyed by its success in hosting the G20 finance ministers, the Australian Tourism Exchange and with direct flights from Singapore in May, confidence is surging in tropical north Queensland and multi-million dollar redevelopments and new projects for the incentives and meetings market are underway.

Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef director Rosie Douglas said that SilkAir flights from May would deliver an extra 20,000 seats a year from South East Asia.

Ms Douglas reeled off the new developments: $12 million redevelopment of Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park; the multi-million dollar refurbishment of the club level at Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairns; construction had commenced on a $400 million Nova8 multi-tower project in the Cairns CBD; and work would soon start on the $50 million Cairns Aquarium. She said the reopening of Lizard Island in mid-March would “take it to another level” with 40 rooms and 24 private beaches. And tenders had closed for the redevelopment of the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas.

Following the G20 and ATE she said business event leads were up 63 per cent and she had appointed a business development manager in Shanghai to further develop the incentive business, which was also growing out of the United States.

By Graeme Kemlo

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