Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Doug Ryan said Port Douglas saw a record number of weddings with more than 600 nuptials taking place during 2012, compared to 498 in 2011, according to official figures from the Department of Justice and Attorney General.
Mr Ryan said weddings brought in valuable dollars to the region, particularly during the shoulder periods of April/May and October/November.
He said if forward bookings were anything to go by, 2013 appeared to be just as strong, if not stronger than this year.
“Weddings are an integral part of the economic future of Port Douglas, injecting over $15m into the economy each year,” he added.
The average amount spent on a wedding in Australia is $36,7000 and 53% of weddings are planned more than 12 months in advance, according to statistics from Easy Weddings.
Mr Ryan said most of the weddings were returning visitors from Sydney and Melbourne.
“Port Douglas and the surrounding region is a highly desirable destination for weddings. We also have an extremely pro-active wedding group that is focused on collectively marketing the destination.
“Known as the Port Douglas Wedding Professionals, this group is made up of 26 members specifically involved in the industry. TPDD supports this group through negotiating marketing opportunities, implementing marketing campaigns, generating media opportunites and keeping the industry informed of trends and opportunities.”
One of the most popular places to tie the knot in 2012 was St Mary’s by The Sea, with the 100-year old chapel witnessing a combined 200 civil and religious ceremonies.
Rob Cooke, owner of Port Douglas Weddings, said St Mary’s by the Sea had always been a popular choice for the bride and groom.
“It is an iconic Port Douglas building with so much history. It is a really beautiful little church and most people who see it want to be married there.”
Mr Cooke, who is also the co-chair of the Port Douglas Wedding Professionals group, said while 2012 was a good year for St Mary’s, 2013 and beyond was shaping up to be even better.
He said this growth wasn’t just seen by St Mary’s, but was indicative of the whole industry.
In fact, Mr Cooke believed the positive outlook for the next two years offered wedding-dependent companies great opportunities to build business and increase their competitiveness.
“Everyone is making it happen. Most wedding businesses in Port Douglas are made up of small sole traders. As a group, we have been fostering an attitude and belief that we need to work together to provide an overall experience.
“The feedback we have been receiving is that facilities and quality of the wedding experience is extremely high.”
Other popular spots for marriage ceremonies include Four Mile Beach, Rex Smeal Park, the Sugar Wharf, Flames of the Forest and Little Cove, as well as Port Douglas’ five-star and boutique hotels and luxurious private homes.
“The destination wedding has become more in-vogue. Friends and family come and it is really special and sometimes at a fraction of the cost of bigger wedding in a capital city,” Mr Cooke added.
For more information, please contact :
Tourism Port Douglas & Daintree
Phone: 07 4099 4588 / 0417794875