Queensland’s Indigenous tourism sector will get a $4 million boost in the next State Budget to grow the number of First Nations tourism experiences in Queensland ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The sector represents huge value to the state’s overall tourism infrastructure with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism contributing $505 million to the state’s visitor economy and employed 2,500 Queenslanders prior to COVID.
Announcing the move, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the $4 million First Nations Tourism Package would build on the state’s current Indigenous tourism sector to deliver even more unique experiences for tourists.
“What we want to do in the lead up to the Olympics is to grow our First Nations tourism experience across the state,” the Premier said.
“If someone has a small company or a good idea, we are going to help build that capacity.
“They can grow and employ more people and be ready in 10 years when people come from all around the world, wanting to experience everything that Queensland has to offer.
“Experiences like the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walks conducted by the local Indigenous people at Mossman Gorge are nation-leading.
“With more First Nations tourism offerings throughout our state, we know we can build on this industry into the future.”
The Premier said the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games would create strong interest in Queensland over the next decade, especially among overseas travellers wanting to experience Indigenous cultures.
“It’s important that we take full advantage of the golden decade that will come with the 2032 Games,” she said.
“This funding injection will help to grow the industry, boost the economy, create jobs for Indigenous Queenslanders and enrich Australian and international visitors with First Nations culture and country.”
Member for Cairns and Assistant Tourism Minister, Michael Healy said Far North Queensland’s tourism recovery was already underway.
“Over recent months, the Cairns visitor economy has been showing good signs of recovery with overseas visitors also starting to return,” Mr Healy said.
“Developing more high quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural experiences will benefit tourism across the region.
“The more unique and diverse our world-class tourism experiences, the more visitors will extend their stay and support local jobs.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the $4 million First Nations Tourism Package represented tremendous opportunity.
“This funding puts in place a chance for our region, and others in Queensland, to build a wider understanding of the world’s two oldest living cultures,” Ms Lui said.
“Far North Queensland is home to around half of the State’s 200 emerging and established Indigenous tourism businesses.
“Queensland’s transformational decade ahead of the 2032 Games means we can lock in jobs and prosperity for the future by building on Indigenous leadership and cultural experiences.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government had invested $7 million during the extended Year of Indigenous Tourism.
“The $7 million Growing Indigenous Tourism Fund and the Year of Indigenous Tourism has put Queensland ahead of other destinations for First Nations visitor experiences,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural experiences are highly sought-after by visitors and that demand is growing internationally.
“With guided tours of a 20,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art gallery, snorkelling with Indigenous Sea Rangers on the Reef or learning to hunt and gather for bush tucker, there’s no place on earth like Queensland.
“Growing strong, sustainable Indigenous tourism businesses will be critical to meeting demand for Indigenous cultural experiences in the decades before and after the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“This new funding will help to create an even bigger pipeline of Indigenous tourism product.
“The Olkola Cultural Knowledge Centre on Cape York, a serviced bush camp at Kowanyama and a Tourism Information and Business Centre on Thursday Island are already part of a pipeline of Indigenous tourism initiatives with more to come.”