Both major political parties must put tourism at the heart of their election pitch to voters to ensure that the Queensland economy is future-proofed as it continues its transition away from mining, the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) said today.
TTF today launched a five-point plan that will boost the Queensland visitor economy and secure Queensland’s transport future. The plan calls on the next Queensland Government to:
- Increase funding for destination marketing to $150 million;
- Establish a separate business events fund of $10 million per year;
- Invest in critical nature-based tourism infrastructure;
- Commit to critical road and rail infrastructure projects across the State; and
- Commit $14 million over four years to continue the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.
“TTF is calling on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls to adopt TTF’s five-point plan to grow Queensland’s visitor economy and to give Queenslanders the road and transport infrastructure that they deserve,” TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said.
“For the sake of Queensland’s economic future, tourism must be the number one issue in this election campaign.
“With dozens of marginal electorates and tens of thousands of livelihoods up and down the coast of Queensland dependent on the tourism industry, major parties that underestimate the sector do so at their own risk.
“The Queensland economy is at an extremely critical juncture and it is absolutely vital that the next Queensland Government harnesses the potential of the tourism sector to generate the jobs and drive the economy of the future.
“Tourism is already a fundamental part of the Queensland economy, generating $27.7 billion in consumption as well as directly contributing around $11.2 billion to total Gross State Product and employing more than 135,000 people across the state.
“The potential to grow these figures could be unprecedented if both major parties are willing to stand up during this election campaign and commit to making the necessary investments in the sector if elected.
“As the home to some of the world’s most iconic natural wonders – the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree, Fraser Island, to name but a few – Queensland should be Australia’s premier tourism state, but the reality is it is being overtaken by other states who have recognised the value in investing in destination marketing and tourism infrastructure.
“Queensland can no longer continue to take its world-class tourism offerings for granted or it will continue to slip further behind Victoria and New South Wales as Australia’s number one destination to visit.”
Ms Osmond said that complementing a strong investment in the tourism sector must be a strong investment in the state’s transport network.
“If visitors cannot access the attractions and experiences on offer then the visitor economy will not reach its full potential,” Ms Osmond said.
“Investing in transport infrastructure such as key roads and public transport infrastructure, bus and rail links and attracting more aviation services to key tourist markets will ensure the overall success of the visitor economy and must also be a priority for the next Queensland Government.
“Both major parties must commit to delivering a targeted and timely investment in road and public transport infrastructure projects to ensure the State is able to effectively address growing congestion on roads and overcrowding on public transport, and accommodate future population growth, particularly in South East Queensland.
“It is absolutely critical that the next government commits to critical transport infrastructure projects across Queensland, including the delivery of the Cross River Rail, the extension of the Gold Coast Light Rail to the Airport, upgrading the Bruce Highway and the Pacific Highway, and exploring a High Speed Rail network linking Brisbane to the regions.”