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Queensland tourism needs $200m war chest

by Ted Sorensen
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The LNP has called on Labor to scrap its attempted Virgin takeover and instead establish a $200m tourism marketing fighting fund to save Queensland jobs.

With 18 bidders now circling the collapsed airline, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said it was clear the company will be saved by private investors.

“The LNP supports a second airline to keep prices low and protect Queensland jobs,” Ms Frecklington said.  “But it’s not the role of the government to bailout a bankrupt business and put taxpayers’ money at risk.

“The best way to save Virgin jobs is to get more tourists into Queensland as restrictions lift.  “The private sector will invest in Virgin – but the private sector will not invest in the unprecedented marketing blitz that Queensland needs.

“What we urgently need from the State Government is an all-out marketing war to get Australian tourists to take their next holiday in Queensland.”

Queensland’s suffered the second-lowest growth in both domestic visitor numbers and visitor spend in 2018-19, and also lost market share in total visitors, visitor expenditure and visitor nights*.

“Our tourism industry was already doing it tough before coronavirus,” Ms Frecklington said.  “We need to back Brand Queensland, as well as destination marketing, to maximise our tourism muscle and bring visitors to the Sunshine State again.

“Queensland cannot afford to waste another day while our tourism sector is struggling.  “People are planning their first post-coronavirus holidays now and we need them to come to Queensland.

“Our tourism industry is facing the ultimate state-of-origin battle and we need to start fighting for Queensland jobs right now.”  Ms Frecklington said the campaign should also target New Zealand to ensure Kiwis flock to the Sunshine State when borders re-open.

LNP Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s approach to Virgin and the tourism industry was fundamentally flawed.  “If you don’t have a thriving tourism sector, airlines will not survive,” Mr Mander said.

“It’s not a case of ‘build it and they will come’. This government should get their heads out of the clouds and focus on selling Queensland to tourists.  “The new Treasurer’s credibility has been shot to pieces by the collapse of Virgin.

“He offered Virgin $200m of taxpayers’ money just 48 hours before the company went into administration.  “If the Treasurer had got his way, Queenslanders would have lost all of that money

“I’m sure that private investors will save Virgin.  “And I’m certain that a basketcase government bailing out a bankrupt airline won’t end well.

“Queensland’s tourism industry has never faced a challenge like this, but we will get through it if we have a plan that is focused on tourists.”

* Queensland Tourism Data

*   Domestic tourism growth was outperformed by nearly every other state and territory in 2018-19
*   Queensland had the second lowest growth in domestic visitor numbers in the nation (TAS 5%, QLD 10%, NT 11%, NSW 12%, WA 12%, VIC 13%, ACT 16%, SA 23%)
*   Queensland had the second lowest growth in domestic visitor spend out of all states in the nation (TAS 5%, QLD 8%, NSW 12%, VIC 13%, WA 19%, SA 27%)

*   Queensland’s market share of visitor numbers, visitor nights and visitor expenditure have all fallen from 2018 to 2019
*   QLD % of visitors- decreased from 22.8 (YE18) to 22.1 (YE19)
*   QLD % of visitor nights – decreased from 25.2 (YE18) to 24.6 (YE19)
*   QLD % of visitor expenditure – decreased from 25.1 (YE18) to 24.1 (YE19)

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