DAINTREE Coast’s accommodation industry is preparing for the domestic tourism market to return later this year.

COVID-19 has decimated the accommodation industry in Douglas Shire, no more so than in the Daintree rainforest where there are 60 operators with well over 600 beds to fill every night.

However, many operators are prepared for the possibility of intrastate and interstate travel later this year.

Marion Esser from Cow Bay Homestead is in the process of reinventing herself.

Many years ago, at a tourism workshop when asked to identify their point of difference, Marion wrote located in World Heritage Rainforest and easy access to all tours, only to find others had the same thing on their list.

Thinking hard, she identified the one thing no one else could offer and that was she spoke German fluently. Using this to guide her marketing she targeted European distribution channels and it paid off.

“I’ve had loads of German visitors over the years,” Marion said.

“They are delighted when I greet them in their own language and they spread the word among family and friends when they get home.”

With international visitors unlikely to pick up any time soon, Marion is rethinking her marketing to target Australians. Staying in a B&B is a bit more luxurious with personal welcome, beds made, breakfast served and the dishes done. More time to explore and enjoy the day ahead.

Sally and Steve Windsor purchased Crocodylus in Cow Bay nine years ago. It is an unusual resort with safari huts nestled against the enormous trunks of trees, which are hundreds of years old.

“I think it was the first commercial accommodation opened north of the river,” Sally said.

“We mostly have Australian families stay with us, and still have a few families booked in for later in the year.

“It is great to hear the Coronavirus restrictions have been successful so the restrictions can ease, and state borders can be opened up.”

Until they do, Sally has used her time very constructively and completed a total refresh of the Daintree Crocodylus website, a task she said was “long overdue.”

Further north in Cape Tribulation, Nate Fleming from Ocean Safari confirmed they will be taking bookings for their cabins and camp sites at the Safari Lodge from the 13th of June

“We’ll also be operating our Turtle Tripper Adventure from mid-June. It’s the only Great Barrier Reef trip in the world where guests board the boat from the beach.

“We only ever take a maximum of 25 passengers on each trip but with social distancing we will about half that number to comply with social distancing requirements, so guests will exception personal service.”

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