Regional economic development strategy formulation relies heavily on analytical techniques such as shift share, location quotients, input-output and SWOT analysis. However, many of theses traditional tools are proving inadequate for understanding what makes regions competitive. New tools are required to evaluate the competitiveness of regional economies, how to gain competitive advantage, and what new management frameworks and enabling infrastructure are needed to drive economic development processes under globalisation. Multi-sectoral qualitative analysis (MSAQ) is a new tool for regional analysis developed by the authors in a case study of the Far North Queensland region in Australia. MSQA is used to identify the competitiveness of regional core competencies, strategic infrastructure and risk, as well as industry development and market opportunities. The case study provided the basis for the preparation of an economic development strategy to build upon the competitive advantages of the region.