“Beautiful One Day, Perfect The Next” is back, bolder than ever, as part of Queensland’s official tourism catch-cry and the centrepiece of their new campaign. This certainly rang true for key superyacht guests on a famil in the Great Barrier Reef organised by the Great Barrier Reef Group to showcase Cairns and their region.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who recently said this simple six word phrase, says it all about Queensland. This famil certainly did highlight everything the Great Barrier Reef region has to offer – pristine beaches, world heritage listed rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, our unbeatable experiences and our world-famous way of life.

The famil saw four International guests plus representatives from Tourism Australia and Superyacht Australia spend 5 days visiting key attractions in the region.

The group was welcomed to Cairns at a reception by Mayor Bob Manning OAM where acting chair of the SYGGBR, David Good thanked the international guests for participating in what was set to be a hectic and compact 5 days designed to showcase the best of what the GBR region had to offer. He also thanked the many companies within the region who were supporting this famil and making an event like this happen. Mayor Bob Manning also reiterated the value of this industry to the Cairns & Whitsunday’s economy stating the superyacht industry accounts for 2,664 jobs and $324.1 million GSP. The value of the industry sector to our region is significant and he said he welcomed initiatives like this to promote the region.

There’s no doubt that Cairns is a major hub for the sector with over 100 business catering to the needs of local and international clients – it’s regarded as a safe and secure environment close to other important Asia Pacific superyacht destinations; situated on the doorstep to the GBR and provides access to marinas, shipyards, a marine college as well as a diverse range of tourism activities.

While in Cairns the guests were accommodated on board MY Spirit and enjoyed the amazing hospitality of Captain Martin Debankes and his wife Jo. This was the prefect base to explore the region with an itinerary that took in; Site inspections of the Great Barrier Reef Marine College, a visit to the Crystalbrook Collection Marina, Thala Beach Nature Reserve, Lizard Island, Kuranda rain forest, Barron Falls Estate, Hamilton Island (including Luxury Lodges of Australia member) Qualia and Great Golf Courses of Australia member Hamilton Island Golf Club,  Abell Point Marina and a scenic flight over the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. Included was also a presentation by the Great Barrier Reef Legacy organisation and networking with Port Douglas fishing, diving and cruising operators.

The itinerary was carefully planned and extremely well executed by the Superyacht Great Barrier Reef Group (SYGGBR) and its members. Comments from participants certainly says it all plus highlights reasons why this region is becoming high on the list as a destination for Superyacht Owners.

The feedback from participants Coriandre Bredin Seal Yachts Tahiti, Carmin Lau Camper Nicolsons Asia, Susan Harris World Wide Boat Fort Lauderdale and Sophia Wilson Boat International UK was effusive about the region and extremely impressed by the organisation of the famil by Jo Drake and the SYGGBR team.

Coriandre Bredin Seal Yachts Tahiti stated “It was my first time in Cairns and what an amazing experience! It is a perfect home port with a convenient marina, nice bars and restaurants, multiple shipyards, many professional services and an international maritime college that gives the crew members the opportunity to keep up to date their tickets or continue their classes. This region has so much to offer, either on land or on water. The Great Barrier Reef is a must-see as is the rainforest just few kilometers from the coast.”

Sophia Wison, Travel & Property Editor for Boat International stated “The SYGGBR Famil has given me a wonderful insight into the fantastic cruising grounds that Queensland has to offer. “

With such mixed messages about the state of the Great Barrier Reef guests were pleased to meet with experts who gave famil guests a brief seminar on the reefs health and they were able to see its recovery first hand. The reef is truly spectacular and the level of marine life on display did not disappoint those guests who took in a few hours snorkeling. It is important for the global market to understand the facts and everyone on the famil felt they now were armed with the correct information to pass on.

Carmen Lau, Managing Director, Camper Nicholsons Asia who had taken time out of an incredibly busy schedule to participate in the famil commented “The famil trip organised by Great Barrier Reef Super Yacht Group was amazing and I look forward to visiting other Australian regions under the umbrella of Superyacht Australia. The package that Queensland can offer for superyacht owners and crews is very dynamic!  With our five days full on schedule, we experienced a wide range of services, products and most important had a chance to meet with a group of passionate experts. From local products to high end brands, from crew training to yacht owners’ experiences, and from shore support to shipyard maintenance, you can find everything all around the Great Barrier Reef. I will be sharing all this information and contacts with our 14 offices around the globe.”

M Edwards Superyacht Australia made the point that famils such as this are set to be a significant part of the Australian superyacht strategy to educate, inform and enthuse the global industry to visit Australia.  It is critical charter brokers, agents, media and high end travel agents and key stakeholders are aware of what Australia has to offer and in particular a region such as the Great Barrier Reef being one of Australia’s key attractions.

The on water activities are second to none but the on land signature experiences are also a key part of the tourism offering and were certainly seen as a major attraction for the visiting international guests. In fact, comments suggested participants would have liked to see more of the on land activities available.

With the America’s Cup heading to this part of the world in 2021 the opportunity for Australia and Queensland is significant and the Australian superyacht industry is set to take advantage of this.  With the superyacht industry now having the support of Tourism Australia, it is expected that there will be a major push to driving a marketing strategy for the sector.

Superyacht Australia congratulated Superyacht Great Barrier Reef on this initiative and also thanked Tourism Australia representatives Courtney Barry & Karen Fitzgerald for supporting the famil and participating in it. The Tourism Australia signature experiences programme is certainly a key part of our tourism offering and fits in perfectly with the Superyacht Industry. M Edwards stated  ”Having tourism marketing experts like Karen and Courtney experiencing our industry and help direct our marketing efforts is invaluable”

The following companies should be noted for their contribution to this successful event.

Cairns Regional Council, Cairns Marlin Marina, Australian Superyacht Services QLD, Abell Point Marina, Carrie Carter Agencies, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Spirit Luxury Charters, Ocean Independence, Independent Aviation, Lizard Island, Hamilton Island, Tourism Australia, Superyacht Australia, Great Barrier Reef Int. Marine College, Barron Falls Estate, Mt Uncle Distillery, Three Wolves, Targa GBR, the Salt House, Nautilus Aviation, Tjapukai, Thala Beach Resort, Reef Hotel Casino and Skyrail.