By Graeme Kemlo

With recently eased COVID restrictions effectively doubling the crowd density of outdoor events (now one person per two sqm and 75 per cent of stadiums),  it was too late for the four AFL games and Super Netball in Cairns last month, but Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) sees some light at the end of the tunnel for business events.

Rosie Douglas, TNQ’s general manager partnerships & events, said: “Ironically Cairns-Brisbane was Australia’s busiest flight sector with Virgin Qantas, Jetstar and Alliance airlines all flying in,” she said.

TNQ usually hosts 55,000 visitors at any given time, but at the moment it is roughly 5000-6000.

According to Rosie, new hotels, such as Crystalbrook’s third hotel, Flynn, opening in Cairns next month, and Accor’s announced Fairmont development opposite the Mirage Port Douglas have “generated a lot of confidence” despite no events being held since March and with two scheduled for November that could still proceed.

What TNQ is really waiting for is the international borders to open and while politics might determine if and when their largest visitor group, China, might return, Rosie says talks continue with contacts in China.

“They are very positive and want to return.”