It’s easy to think of Queensland tourism as a beautiful collection of beaches, outback sunsets, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and cuddling koalas.
But it’s not all holidays and leisure. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Because for Queensland, tourism is big business.
While millions of people every year enjoy the experiences, attractions, locations and people that make Queensland such a great place to visit, there are just as many people committed to ensure that the $27 billion that tourism pumps in to the Queensland economy every year continues to grow.
Sometimes overlooked amongst Queensland’s big-ticket sectors of rocks and crops, the tourism sector is growing up and holding its own amongst the big brother industries.
And it’s Queensland’s Tourism Industry Development team that is working hard to solidify tourism’s place as one of Queensland’s most important economic sectors. Made up of collaborators and connectors who are working to grow Queensland’s future, they’re driven by one simple fact — tourism is crucial to Queensland’s economic and job growth.
Queensland has the second largest tourism industry in Australia and is recognised as a world-leading tourism destination — and that doesn’t happen by accident.
Through Tourism Industry Development, we are working with businesses that want to invest in Queensland tourism, through assisting with funding support and facilitating attractions, experiences and opportunities.
In fact, over the last year, we collaborated with the tourism industry and attracted investment at an unprecedented level, with $760 million of additional capital being attracted into tourism investment with the support of the Queensland Government.
And while visitors and holiday makers are focused on building the memory bank, industry development is focused on building infrastructure, enterprises and programs that position Queensland as a tourism powerhouse through industry investment attraction.
Investment like the $3.6 billion of capital being delivered through the Queen’s Wharf development, and the more than $800 million of private-sector investment committed to revitalising the Great Barrier Reef Islands.
It’s a big part of the role of industry development, to assist the private sector to get their approvals viable and accepted through to ensuring that Queensland is consistently identified as a top spot to do business and attract quality spending.
But it’s not just the big-ticket items that signify industry development though. At its core, it’s about people.
Helping people passionate about Queensland to attract funding to build their tourism business or idea.
Finding the right people at the right time to help a new enterprise to work through a problem and make the best decisions they can in order to be successful.
Partnering with others — be that government departments, the private sector, small regional operators or local councils — Tourism Industry Development ensures the environment is right for a thriving tourism sector that is growing and diversifying.
And that means ensuring jobs for people in Queensland too. Building a skilled tourism workforce is as important as building infrastructure.
Currently, tourism employs one in ten Queenslanders — and for somewhere like the Whitsundays as high as one in three — with almost 106,000 tourism jobs throughout regional Queensland. That’s 236,000 Queenslanders building a career in the tourism industry.
It’s estimated that 10,000 tourism jobs will be created from the Queen’s Wharf precinct in the future too. Which is why our business capability programs such as Young Tourism Leaders, which connects influential young role models from the industry with the next generation considering a career in tourism, are ensuring that career pathways in the sector are clear and attractive.
And the visitor appetite for experiences with the people of Queensland — not just our beautiful places — is growing too.
That’s one of the reasons over $20 million dollars was invested in new tourism attractions and experiences in rural and regional Queensland in 2019, as part of the Year of Outback Tourism. This focused commitment encouraged more than one million visitors to Queensland’s outback in just 12 months.
It’s figures like this that support the need to acknowledge our tourism strengths while accepting change is coming — and how to make sure we’re ahead of the game.
In 2020, Queensland will acknowledge the Year of Indigenous Tourism, with up to a $10 million commitment to develop and grow Indigenous tourism in Queensland.
Indigenous and cultural tourism experiences are in demand the world over, and Queensland is perfectly placed to capitalise on that demand through offering an increased quality of involvement.
It makes good sense to give even higher value to our natural assets and cultural and Indigenous heritage as they offer unique tourism advantages that only exist in our state.
And it’s the rural, regional and remote communities of Queensland where industry development can best advocate for and invest in some of our most unique tourism opportunities.
It’s also these areas that are most prone to natural disasters, where the local tourism sector can be the shock absorber for the economy when cyclones, floods, fire and drought arrive.
Through supporting the recovery, rebuilding and revitalisation of tourism destinations hard-hit by natural disasters, Tourism Industry Development plays a significant role in getting things back on track, as well as leading the rebuilding of tourism businesses to look at new products and experiences that are more resilient in times of crisis, that can also offer something new in the region.
While natural disasters are not unknown to Queenslanders, the changing climate is making future planning challenging for the tourism sector.
It’s another area where Tourism Industry Development has committed to working with industry through the Queensland Tourism Climate Change Response Plan, and continues to utilise its strong policy capability and government advocacy expertise.
The saying goes, a rising tide floats all boats, and it’s the way we see the role of Tourism Industry Development.
We’re here to help make every layer and level of Queensland’s tourism industry, from Bamaga to Bowen Hills, from Cunnamulla to Cooktown, function at its best and be supported by investment that ensures every business and community in Queensland can make the most of present and future tourism opportunities.
Whether it’s a multi-million-dollar eco-trail plan or a new experience in an outback pub — we can help. And you can help make Queensland the number one destination in the world.
We look forward to working with you to help grow Queensland’s tourism industry by creating jobs and attracting investment, skills and talent.