The Australian has run a series of posts on Shaping Our Future: ideas to change a century. The always thought provoking Phil Ruthven has some contrarian ideas on tourism as a key economic driver when the mining stimulus inevitably begins to fade.
Large scale manufacturing can't compete with Asia. Ruthven cites estimates from Boeing that 112 million Chinese will be travelling beyound their borders by 2020. He reckons a 15% share could be achievable with potential to deliver export income comparable with mining.
This fits with the theme that Cairns is actually well placed for many current global trends. Diversification for its own sake beyond core strengths and comparative advantages has seldom been successful or sustainable.
However, for the next few years the investment boom in resource capacity looks likely to remain the dominant theme: