Does it seem like these local tourism operators give themselves awards and banquets about a dozen times a year? We've lost count of how many "tourism awards" are given out by these people - TO EACH OTHER. The circle jerk of awards.
So it's little surprise that a national award ceremony snubbed Cairns, and even more stunning that the local operators have lodged criticism, and failed to look at their own houses introspectively.
So a little review of the continual flow of comments about Cairns on tourism websites by our Aussie and local visitors is in order.
"OVERPRICED - AVERAGE FOOD AND SERVICE"
"BAD OVERPRICED FOOD"
"TACKY AND OVERPRICED"
"OVERPRICED RELIES ON TOURIST NOT REPEAT TRADE"
"OVERPRICED TOURIST TRAP"
"OVERPRICED HARBOUR LIGHTS"
"DO NOT GO - OVERPRICED AND VERY ORDINARY"
"OVERPRICED - EXPECT TO PAY ADDITIONAL UNDISCLOSED CHARGES"
In fact, type "overpriced" and "Cairns" into Tripadvisor, and you get 1,460,000 hits - substitute "Hawaii" for Cairns (a tourist destination with 24 times more visitors per year), and you get barely 360,000 hits.
Overpriced. Bad Service. Ripoff. Rude staff. Cold food. Undercleaned. Bad Taxis with ignorant, non-English speaking drivers. Clowns. Ignorant.
Why in the world do these tourism jerks think they deserve an award? One restauranteur said to me "well, you can't please everybody". It looks to me like we're not pleasing ANYBODY!
This is what's primarily wrong with Cairns as a destination. Not too many aboriginals on the street (as John MacKenzie and his band of misfits would have you believe). Not crime - of course Cairns has crime, but at rates only a fraction of most places tourists come from. Mayor Paul Pisasale, lauded as a local government god by Cueball, tells audiences around Australia his story about arriving in Cairns, getting in a taxi, and listening to the driver bag the town, the hotels, the council, the mayor - everything. Our "first arrival" ambassadors. No fucking awards for
What's the common factor in Cairns' tourism crash, and still lack of recovery? It isn't the exchange rate - tourism around the world is barely affected by such factors. It's the internet. Before 2006, "rating services" like Trip Advisor, Yelp, and now Facebook were barely available. Now they're the first place people look when thinking of travel. And with so many tourism locations in Cairns looking so bad relative to the competition, is it no wonder that tourism hasn't "bounced back"??
The problem is us. And we refuse to recognise it.
Oh, and tell your friends. . .