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Cairns bids for cosmetic dollar -

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PETER CAVE: For some time now many Australians have opted to combine cheaper cosmetic surgery
overseas with a holiday in places such as Thailand and Singapore.

Well it seems that Far North Queensland and specifically the city of Cairns is anxious to grab a
share of that lucrative industry.

Cairns is targeting US soldiers and their families living on Guam, a Pacific territory with regular
air links to Queensland.

Simon Santow reports.

(Excerpt from tourism advertisement)

SIMON SANTOW: Queensland's pitch for the tourist dollar has long been about adventure, centring on
the sun and the water.

EXTRACT FROM ADVERTISEMENT: It is the only place on earth where two world heritage listed natural
wonders ....

SIMON SANTOW: But there's a new focus being developed by some influential figures in the business
community of Cairns.

EXTRACT FROM ADVERTISEMENT: The Tropical North is like nowhere else on earth.

SIMON SANTOW: The market they want to tap into is cosmetic tourism and the target is cashed up US
soldiers and their families living on Guam, four hours' flying time away.

RUSSELL BEER: The idea would be that effectively we would package it up for them and that if they
had some cosmetic surgery needs or some other similar surgery needs, that we could provide them a
service whereby they are picked up from their home in Guam, taken to the airport, flown to Cairns,
taken to a hospital here, looked after, put up in good accommodation and probably even have some
good restaurant meals afterwards.

SIMON SANTOW: Russell Beer is the chairman of Advance Cairns. His brief is to promote the city and
bring investment dollars to an area that is feeling the pinch.

RUSSELL BEER: Look times have been tough and in a market that is reliant on leisure tourism, that
is a discretionary market and so people often not to chose not to spend in times like this.

SIMON SANTOW: So you have had to think outside the square a bit in trying to promote tourism and
business for the region?

RUSSELL BEER: Very much so and the plan is to work out how we can diversify our economy whilst
keeping strong in our key areas as well.

SIMON SANTOW: Fertility clinics and cosmetic surgeries are springing up in the city.

Lisa Price is the director of clinical services at the Jade Cosmetic clinic in Cairns. While most
of her work currently comes from locals, she wants to broaden the business.

LISA PRICE: I think it's a development that is very much worthwhile. I think with Cairns in
particular, I think it's a destination that can really encompass both tourism and providing quality
medical services. So I think it's a direction that many of us would be probably a little bit silly
if we didn't look into.

SIMON SANTOW: Lisa Price says Australia has higher standards than many cosmetic surgery practices
operating overseas.

LISA PRICE: Going overseas for surgery particularly to a third world country is something that I
myself have had direct experience with, working with a reconstructive surgeon in Melbourne and it
is not something that many of us in the industry think a great deal about because people often end
up with results that are far less than what they were expecting and end up coming back to Australia
with complications that are often lifetime complications.

SIMON SANTOW: Stephen Olle is the chairman of Tourism Tropical North Queensland.

He says Guam is only four hours away by plane and the Pacific territory is growing in population,
thanks to the decision to relocate tens of thousands of US troops from their base on the Japanese
island of Okinawa.

STEPHEN OLLE: One of the areas that we have been looking at that is attractive for Guam is, in
particularly IVF, fertility is, a fertility clinic has just opened in Cairns and it is looking to,
as well as the North Queensland area, it is looking to the Pacific Rim.

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. 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.

Cairns is ideally located particularly for the IVF process.

PETER CAVE: Stephen Olle the chairman of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, ending that report from
Simon Santow.