Supporting the tourism pillar a regional challenge

The success of the Olympic Games held in one of the world’s great tourist centres highlights the opportunities that our tourist and accommodation industry continues to offer.

While the Olympic Games is a once in every four years global event, here in Queensland, we are having significant events every week and they are in a geographic environment that overlaps the seasons. The big global events essentially highlight the reality that the citizens of the 21st century are keen explorers and keen to travel to be entertained.

Interstate, regional and international visitors are all attracted to a variety of travel opportunities and at the recent DestinationQ forum in Cairns, the diversity of opportunity presented by events was explored in some detail. We are all well aware that in Victoria, the Kennett government 15 years ago, headhunted major national events to develop a calendar of a blockbuster gathering each month to attract visitors and tourists. The only problem that Victoria faced was its cold winter weather and a strong range of support acts and areas to visit.

Well in Queensland, where we have such a diversity of support acts in terms of scenery and beaches and 1500km of the Great Barrier Reef to explore, along with a diversity of events of all kinds and sizes, then our tourism industry goal of $20 billion of visitor expenditure by 2030, that is doubling our current industry level, is certainly a worthy challenge to attain.

The more we consider events the more tourist opportunities seem to emerge, and with a growth of visitor numbers, then the greater confidence there is in encouraging investment that will see the construction industry activated and new venues and projects emerge.

In my own region in South East Queensland, the staging of the Commonwealth Games in 2018 has already stimulate a unprecedented degree of new activity as the long term planning to ensure the successful staging of the events has investors considering a broad range of support attractions and activities.

And speaking of international games, the 2015 Pacific Games to be held in Port Moresby is likely to attract people from all parts of the world to visit one of the truly remote regions of the world, which is just a hop step and jump to the Great Barrier Reef and the other charms that the diversified Queensland has to offer.

The challenge is the communication of the messages outlining these events and the targeting to the potential visitors. The federal and state governments have been very active in targeting the international markets and we are seeing the benefits of some of the marketing and development strategy, by new airlines sourcing visitors from nations and providing direct flights into our destinations for the first time. These are important break throughs and provide genuine new opportunities for international visitors to come down under.

These initiatives are also being supported by strong advertising and marketing campaigns ensuring that Australian and Queensland product is placed in the appropriate media to tempt and lure adventurers and visitors to come a test out our opportunities.

But I believe that there is a greater need for more personal contact by us all in using our own networks and global experiences to talk to potential visitors. We at ARAMA are required each month to provide reports to our investor owners on the activities of the buildings and venues that we manage and the future forecasts and prospects. It is a requirement of our business.

Our reports may mention the seasonal attractions, how the fishing is performing, the diversity of sporting events, like the weekly horse racing meetings, football matches, triathlons, car races and rallies and the diversity of theatre activities and the arts and crafts markets, as well as the weather and beach and travel conditions. I am quite amazed that our sporting arenas are able to attract Melbourne sized crowds for football matches, when in Sydney they struggle to get visitor numbers. In fact Sydney fails to offer the attractions of the diversity of self catering accommodation which is so much a feature of our holiday centres from Coolangatta to Port Douglas and points north.

There is a need to reinforce the value for money message that is offered by the Australian tourist industry, especially in the nation’s tourist state. In the rebuilding of the Queensland tourist industry, which is now recognised as a major pillar of our future development, the task belongs to us all. It is important that not only those of us in the industry remain staunch advocates for our region but that all business people and citizens in the region become ambassadors to the development of the tourist pillar and the economic diversity it offers and get on the blower and the Internet and lure a visitor to try a visit and a holiday in paradise.

The challenge and opportunities are a natural and the industry is stimulated to provide service and servility with a commitment to build a special industry that offers important growth opportunities and jobs for many Queenslanders. And we also know that population numbers are part of the growth pattern that is modern Queensland, so we need to succeed with these opportunities that are now available and being so enthusiastically support by a vigorous government and a stimulated and committed industry.

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