Looks like the Philippines has a new competitor for tourism and cosmetic surgery. I know that many locals visit the Philippines for cosmetic surgery. Cairns has it right to target the military for these things but I’m not sure if military insurance will cover it. Personally, I was thinking of visiting Cairns since it’s only a 4 hour flight. I guess it’s a nice alternative than going to the Philippines.
Cairns is set to target US soldiers and their families living in Guam with a lucrative combination of tourism and cosmetic surgery.
Regular four-hour flights between the Pacific territory island and Cairns, with the opportunity to combine cosmetic surgery or fertility treatment with a holiday in far north Queensland, are part of the drawcard.
The Pacific territory is growing in population thanks to the relocation of tens of thousands of United States troops from their military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
It is happening at a time when dwindling tourism in Cairns on the back of the financial crisis demands a new focus to pick up the slack.
And that’s just what influential figures in the business community are hoping to do – cosmetically.
The chairman of Advance Cairns, Russel Beer, says the discretionary leisure market has been under pressure.
With a brief to promote the city and bring investment dollars to the area, he says diversification is the key to keeping a strong economy.
“We would package it up for them and if they had some cosmetic surgery needs or some other similar surgery needs, we could provide them a service whereby they are picked up from their home in Guam, flown to Cairns and taken to a hospital here,” Mr Beer said.
“[They would be] looked after, put up in good accommodation and probably even have some good restaurant meals afterwards.”
Fertility clinics and cosmetic surgeries are springing up in the city.
Jade Cosmetic director Lisa Price says while most of her work currently comes from locals, she wants to broaden the business.
“I think it is a development that is very worthwhile. Cairns in particular is a destination that can really encompass tourism and provide quality medical services,” she said.
Ms Price says Australia has higher standards than many cosmetic surgery practices operating overseas.
Fertility clinics are also being seen as a drawcard.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chairman Stephen Olle says a recently opened fertility clinic in Cairns should be particularly attractive to the Pacific Rim market.
“It has the advantage of being in exactly the same time zone so the people on Guam don’t have to go over to Hawaii or back over to Asia,” he said.
“They can come straight down to Cairns and fertility clinics.
“Obviously to go through the procedure you need to be in an area for two to three weeks, so while you are going through the process you can have the opportunity to have a holiday and have a good look around.”
By Simon Santow for The World Today