Queensland tourism boost to Unite and Recover from COVID-19

Media Statement: Tuesday 19 May, 2020

Queensland tourism boost to Unite and Recover from COVID-19

The Premier has today announced an extra $50 million to help support our tourism businesses and our iconic theme and animal parks get through COVID-19.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Parliament that her government would also deliver a domestic marketing campaign to align with the easing of restrictions to encourage Queenslanders to holiday at home.

The funding boost to the sector was announced as part of The Queensland Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite and recover for Queensland Jobs, to help the State recover from COVID-19 with a focus on backing Queensland jobs.

“Queensland’s tourism industry – our state’s backbone, our state’s lifeblood – has been dealt a crippling body blow by the pandemic,” the Premier said.

“Personally, it has been heartbreaking to witness. It has been heartbreaking to make tough but unavoidable decisions – like the decision to close our borders and place hard restrictions on the industry – knowing that they would hurt while at the same time understanding they were critical to save lives.

“Tourism was contributing $27 billion to Queensland’s economy and more than 230,000 jobs before COVID-19 hit.

“Nearly one in three jobs have been lost in accommodation and food services in Queensland due to restrictions.

“This is an impact I never imagined I would witness in my lifetime.

“History will tell the story of a vital industry – one of our state’s most important industries – being brought to its knees by this unprecedented time.

“That’s why we are today committing another $50 million to support our tourism businesses and our iconic theme parks and animal parks. We want them to get through this and survive and come out at the other end stronger, more resilient and able to continue to make their critical contribution to Queensland.

“I want to thank the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and all the businesses that have engaged with my Government to work on the recovery.”

Domestic Tourism Campaign in development

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) were in the final stages of preparing the domestic tourism campaign, which will be officially unveiled in early June ahead of the school holidays, but said the message in the first instance would be clear.

"Tourism supports one in 10 Queensland jobs. Safeguarding these jobs is a major priority for this government,” she said.

“Obviously state borders remain closed for the time being but restrictions on intrastate travel are beginning to ease.

“We have a very simple message for Queenslanders – get out and explore your own state.

“The June-July school holidays are shaping as a crucially important time for our tourism operators, who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By having the campaign in market ahead of time, we’re aiming to fill beds and get people enjoying our experiences so money flows back into the tourism economy.

“That will just be the first step of the campaign, with plans to re-enter the southern domestic markets in July.

“Ahead of interstate travel resuming, we’ll be working hard with our airline partners to deliver great fares and I’m confident Queensland will have a strong appeal for the nine million Australians who take an international trip each year and won’t be able to in 2020.

“At the end of the day this is all about jobs and rebuilding tourism in Queensland which is such a vital part of the economy.”

Social Media plays its part

Ms Jones said social media campaigns throughout the pandemic had ensured that Queensland remained top-of-mind for prospective tourists in NSW and Victoria who were planning holidays while in self-isolation. “Once restrictions are lifted, we want to burst out of the gates,” Ms Jones said.

“We’re ahead of the curve because right throughout this crisis we’ve remained active – working with tourism operators and the private sector to ensure tourists return to Queensland after the pandemic.”

TEQ chief executive Leanne Coddington said Queensland was well positioned to deliver exactly what visitors were looking for post-COVID.

“Queensland is an internationally renowned tourism destination which people travel from all over the world to experience for themselves, so the first stage is a perfect opportunity for us all to rediscover our state and fall in love with it all over again,” she said.

“What our research is showing is that more than 60 per cent of Australians are planning to take a holiday as restrictions ease and they will be looking for warm weather, plenty of sunshine, open spaces, pristine nature and welcoming hosts.

“That plays directly into Queensland’s strengths and puts us in the perfect position to capitalise on interstate tourism when it restarts.”

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