The current Queensland Government’s first budget has been warmly received by the tourism industry, which sees it as having delivered on a promise to provide certainty for Tourism & Events Queensland funding, with an allocation of AUD 400 million over four years.
Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) chief executive Margy Osmond said that reversing the former Government’s planned funding had ben a “key ask of TTF in our Queensland election agenda”.
“We are pleased the Palaszczuk Government has listened to the industry. However, TTF now looks forward to working with the Government to increase funding for tourism in Queensland to ensure it remains competitive in Australia and in our region moving forward.
“Tourism is a critical economic driver for Queensland, generating AUD 27.8 billion in overall expenditure and creates 140,000 direct jobs every year.
“Over the past five calendar years, international visitor expenditure in Queensland has only grown 6.9%, while New South Wales and Victoria have recorded 19.7% and 34.7% growth over the same period.
“Queensland’s neighbours are investing heavily in tourism. In New South Wales, the Government recently announced a 33% increase to its tourism, major events and business events Budget, with a record allocation of AUD 176 million.
“While today’s decision is an important first move, Queensland will need to continue investing in tourism to ensure it does not slip further behind its interstate rivals,” she said.
Osmond said the decision to restore funding will give financial certainty to Tourism & Events Queensland, allowing them to plan longer term campaigns to attract more visitors to the State.
“It will also have important flow-on effects for all of the State’s regional tourism organisations and the convention bureaux that rely on funding from Tourism & Events Queensland,” Osmond said.
“I also welcome the Government’s AUD 10 million boost to the Aviation Investment Fund, which is an important part of attracting more international visitors and airlines to Queensland.
“The additional funding of AUD 100 million over five years to protect the Great Barrier Reef is another great initiative that will help preserve one of Australia’s greatest tourist icons.
On other aspects of the budget Osmond said Brisbane train users would also benefit from AUD 300 million in rail improvements and 75 new trains to be delivered in late 2018.
“The Bruce Highway is a gateway to many of Queensland’s tourism hot-spots, and the duplication works will make it easier and safer for motorists.
“Funding for the arts, including an additional AUD 28 million over four years to be allocated to Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct, will also help boost Queensland’s status as a tourist destination,” she said.
Edited by Peter Needham