New infrastructure, hotel upgrades and increased airline access are drawing planners to Cairns and Great Barrier Reef .
Business Events Cairns and Great Barrier Reef Director Rosie Douglas said more than A$140 million worth of upgrades had been undertaken in the destination and construction was underway on an aquarium and a microbrewery.
“Added to this exciting progress is the arrival of Philippine Airlines with direct services to Auckland and Manila, the announcement by SilkAir that all services to Cairns would be non-stop and increased capacity on domestic routes,” she said.
“The Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort is close to completing a $40 million upgrade which includes renovations to the 294 guest rooms, new suites and swim out rooms, plus the redevelopment of the Country Club, the resort’s main buildings, surrounding pools and landscaping.
“Just a one hour flight from Cairns, Lizard Island has undergone a $45 million renovation including the upgrading of its 40 rooms, as well as the restaurant, bar, boutique, beach club, day spa, gymnasium, vessels and landscaping.
“The $50 million Cairns Aquarium under construction in the city will be within walking distance of Cairns’ hotels and enable visitors to see Great Barrier Reef species including sharks, stingrays and coral without getting wet.
“In addition to the main tank, it will have a walk-through tunnel, interactive touch areas, Daintree Rainforest and mangrove swamp boardwalks plus exhibits of rainforest reptiles, amphibians and other marine creatures.
“There will be a 4D theatre, an amusement gaming zone, an Indigenous experience and behind-the-scenes tours involving collaborations with Australian and international universities.
“Hemingway’s Brewery will open in Port Douglas in May with a new multi-million dollar microbrewery, bar and restaurant opening at the Port Douglas Reef Marina. The two-storey 850sq m venue will seat more than 450 people across an indoor and outdoor area and the top floor will include an event centre that can seat up to 300 people.
“As well as these developments, events company Roux Blond is celebrating a decade in business with a rebrand to be unveiled at the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne on February 23-24,” she added.