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Interim plan for tourism recovery; business events, hospitality and indigenous cultural at centre

Queensland will lure a bigger slice of Australian’s lucrative conference and business events with a $14 million, two-year investment to deliver more hospitality jobs and support the Palaszczuk Government’s Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the conference recommendation was part of the Tourism Industry Reference Panel’s Interim Action Plan for Tourism Recovery.

“Formed by the Palaszczuk Government in March, the Tourism Industry Reference Panel has been working with tourism operators on a blueprint to lead Queensland tourism’s recovery from the global pandemic,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“With more double-dose vaccinations in arms, the Interim Action Plan recommends weaning business off Zoom and moving back to face-to face events and conventions to revive an industry previously worth $35 billion nationally.

“Business visitors often spend more in conference destinations and are more likely to return with family for a holiday experience.”

More than $1 billion in direct support has been committed by the Palaszczuk Government to get tourism operators from the border to the Cape through the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

The Tourism Minister said the Panel’s Interim Action Plan had called for an ‘integrated aviation restart strategy’.

“A portion of our $10 million aviation budget has kept intra-state routes in the air and given Queensland airports the fire power to work with airlines to schedule extra domestic flights for the December 17 border reopening,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Just as important, is the overseas relationships and marketing the Palaszczuk Government has maintained during the pandemic to be on the front foot when the Federal Government decides it is safe to reopen the international border to tourism.

“With the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games locked in, the Panel and Government are focused on the unique global visitor and trade opportunities the next 20-years will bring to the Queensland economy.

“As identified by the Interim Action Plan, a Queensland First Nations Tourism Plan has enormous potential for development with tourists seeking out genuine Indigenous cultural experiences growing year-on-year.”

Mr Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government would relaunch the Work in Paradise campaign.

“Queensland tourism operators need more staff to guarantee visitors the world-class tourism experiences they expect over the festive season,” he said.

“Although there are several southern workers waiting for the border opening on December 17, we’ll need to boost their numbers.

“Ultimately, we’re relying on Queenslanders getting the jab, particularly in popular destinations like the Whitsundays, where double-dose vaccinations are well below the State average.”

Panel Chair Liz Savage said while Queensland’s tourism industry has experienced great trauma, even in survival mode, its leaders have been bold enough to work with the Panel to reimagine and reshape the future.

“This Interim Action Plan details our recommendations to Government and sets out the start of a shared vision that will position us to win when markets reopen and demand returns,” Ms Savage said.

“We now have a roadmap to reopening, an important step towards free and open travel, and have recommended actions that support our visitor economy to reopen with success.

“We have also looked to the future and asked that Government invite industry to work with it.

“If we get it right, we believe we can emerge from this once-in-a-century crisis with a modern, world-beating visitor economy which will drive our state’s growth for decades to come.”

Mr Hinchliffe thanked the Panel for the Interim Action Plan.

“This is the start of a terrific opportunity for the industry to rebuild better for a new, modern visitor environment and changed tourist expectations,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

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