Queensland fighting harder for bigger share of tourism dollar
In 2016, over 2.5 million foreign visitors arrived in Queensland, according to latest research by Tourism Research Australia. International visitors spent $5.1 billion, a 4 per cent increase on the previous year.
China continues to be Queensland’s biggest market, both by total number of visitors and expenditure. But huge growth is coming from other countries such as Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Thailand.
CCIQ senior policy advisor Catherine Pham said while these numbers were great for Queensland, there was work to do to maintain or improve the state’s share of the tourism pie.
“Without our tourism industry, Queensland’s economic landscape post-the-resources-boom would certainly look a lot different,” Ms Pham said.
“The industry injected over $5bn into our economy over the past year – however, Victoria and NSW managed to capture a greater share of the market and benefitted most from growth in global tourism.
“Compared to 10 years ago, where 43 per cent of international visitors travelled to Queensland, last year the proportion was down to 34 per cent.
“We’re seeing greater numbers overall, but our southern state counterparts are doing just that bit better at attracting foreign visitors.
“Since 2010, Queensland has struggled to keep up with the rate of growth in international visitor numbers as seen in NSW and Victoria.
“Devastating weather events had a major impact on tourism around that time, as did the GFC, which probably saw visitors prioritise their travel to and within Australia to Sydney and Melbourne.”
Ms Pham noted the significant contribution the tourism industry had made to job creation and the transformation of our regional cities.
“The boom in tourism has meant a rise in service sector jobs, which has helped immensely with the number of job losses in the resources industry over the past few years,” she said.
“The job creation is diverse. Tourism has meant more jobs in construction, with demand for new hotels and resorts, more jobs for scientists who work on the Great Barrier Reef and rainforests, plus jobs for marketing specialists.
“It’s creating its own investment boom and we’re seeing that with Star Entertainment and Flight Centre setting up their headquarters in Brisbane.”
Ms Pham said while the figures painted a positive picture for Queensland, it was important to recognise some regions were not benefitting as much as others.
“Tourists are going to the places most would expect. They’re flocking to our premier destinations, including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays and Tropical North Queensland.
“Outside these regions, tourism growth has been much lower and in some instances decreased from the previous year.”
“Our regions have so much to offer. We need to get the word out there, make it easier for tourists to visit these areas and support regional businesses in offering products and services that are memorable.”
Ms Pham believed cooperation between State Government, Federal Government and industry was key to capitalising on the global tourism boom.
“There is huge potential out there for Queensland to gain a larger share of the international tourist market,” she said.
“When we have governments working cooperatively with industry and when businesses step up to the challenge, it might be more than a “boom”. It could be one of the most sustainable ways for our state to move forward.”