Election 2012: Tourism vision for Asia Pacific Century under Bligh government leadership

Jan Jarratt, Queensland tourism, manufacturing and small business minister, has pledged $50 million to boost tourism over the next three years.

“We all want a bright future for Queensland tourism, with more visitors enjoying our state, more business for tourism operators and more jobs in the industry. A re-elected Bligh government will help achieve this bright future with new investments that will cement our place as one of the world’s great tourist destinations.

“Rebooting Queensland Tourism for the Asia Pacific Century is our plan to grow Queensland’s tourism credentials and ensure that holiday-makers from home, interstate and overseas choose Queensland for their next getaway. Tourism is a major economic driver, contributing $17 billion to the local economy and sustaining 220,000 jobs – almost 10% of the state’s workforce.

“At the same time, holiday-making in Australia faces more competition than ever before, with overseas travel at its most affordable and new international tourism destinations serviced by low-cost airlines making global travel a fiercely competitive industry. These major structural changes to the international tourism environment mean our tourism industry must move towards offering easier connections to Queensland for tomorrow’s traveller, with new and exciting tourism products to greet them.

“A re-elected Bligh government will invest $50 million over three years in new initiatives that deliver sustainable long-term growth to:

* Increase visitor expenditure from $15 billion pa in 2010 to over $30 billion by 2020;

* Increase tourism’s contribution to gross state product from $7.8 billion in 2010 to over $12 Billion by 2020.

Boosting visitor expenditure is the single most important way to help the growth and prosperity of all aspects of our tourism industry – it helps resorts, hotels, motels, restaurants, cafes, tour boat operators and taxis.

Achieving these targets will require:

* A lift in the industry’s growth rate from 3% to 6% pa;

* A shift in international visitor expenditure from 25% to 30% of

Queensland’s total visitor expenditure;

* Increasing Asian visitors from 39% to 50% of all international

visitors with more traditional long-haul and New Zealand markets continuing to make up the other 50%;

* A continued focus on domestic travel as the mainstay of our

market – still accounting for 70% of expenditure in 2020;

* More hotel rooms and more international airline movements and

connections to regional airports from eastern seaboard cities

“We’ve set ambitious targets supported by the significant $50 million investment to reboot our tourism industry for the Asian Pacific Century.

“A new Labor government would double visitor targets and destination-based funding to $6.22 million while targeting the massive Chinese market for further growth. There would also be a significant focus on tourism infrastructure and investment in new experiences to entice visitors to Queensland where you can explore the outback, visit dinosaur digs, learn about Australian pioneering history, enjoy sun, sand and surf and immerse yourself in two of the world’s oldest living cultures.

“We have faced natural disasters, a high Australian dollar and the continuing slow recovery from the GFC in major economies such as Europe and the US. But Queensland will always be a great destination and our Rebooting Tourism plan can ensure this industry strengthens and grows in the years ahead.

“As well as doubling visitor expenditure by 2020 and doubling destination-based funding for each region, our Rebooting Tourism plan will:

* Develop a Commonwealth Games Tourism Plan to leverage growth in

holidaymakers to all parts of Queensland as a result of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

* Deliver a $15 million for Aviation Launch Pad to build on more than 10 years of success in growing Queensland’s aviation industry and our air links to the world. Elements include an Aviation Futures Forum within the first 100 days with tourism operators, industry associations, airports, airlines, regional economic organisations and all levels of government; an aggressive ‘fill the planes’ marketing strategy to maintain existing market share and increase our share of the emerging China, India and South East Asia markets.

* Provide a $20 million tourism infrastructure fund, through which

local governments and regional tourism operators can apply for funding to turn their great ideas into reality for initiatives like new tourism facilities, lagoons, public attractions and street-scaping. Projects delivered through previous Tourism Pre-Feasibility Grants which may be eligible under the new fund include: Port Douglas Swimming Lagoon; Future stages of the Rockhampton Riverfront; Australia’s Green Cauldron

– a Scenic Rim and Mt Warning promotions strategy; Expansion of the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach; Cairns World Heritage Gateway; Eromanga Natural History Museum in dinosaur frontier country.

* Initiate a $5 million China strategy to capture an even bigger share of our fastest growing international tourism market for the next decade, expanding marketing into 22 target Chinese cities; helping operators meet expectations of Chinese tourists; and encouraging Chinese travellers to visit more parts of regional Queensland.

“Securing our tourism future means Queensland must compete on quality, service and value for money, rather than competing on price alone. Our products need to evolve to meet emerging markets and holiday-making trends. The industry cannot do this alone. That’s why a re-elected Bligh government will work in partnership with industry and local government to reposition Queensland in the tourism market of the Asia Pacific Century.”

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