Topics:  jann stuckey, queensland, tourism, travel

Sunshine state still a stand-out destination: Stuckey

THE State's regional areas can expect to cash in on a busy Queensland tourism calendar of events for 2013.

But the gains in regional tourism could be offset by a fall in international visitors after visa charges for backpackers were increased last year.

Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said the success of events like the 2012 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships proved the sunshine state was a stand-out tourism destination.

She said in 2011-12, tourism across the state delivered $244.3 million in economic benefits, and a big calendar of national and international events in Brisbane would help secure a good year for the industry.

Outside the capital, many regions are still struggling against a longer-term downturn, while other areas have the effects of mining jobs taking up rooms which otherwise would have been used by holiday-makers.

Tourism and Transport Forum outgoing chief John Lee said Queensland had the benefits of natural attractions and scheduled events to boost visitor numbers and increase the length of stays.

"Events Queensland has done an outstanding job in developing and marketing its events calendar, which encourages longer stays and increases economic activity around the state," he said.

"Combining these activities with Tourism Queensland's innovative promotional and marketing campaigns delivers a strong return on investment, attracting visitors from across Australia and around the world."

 

The latest forecasts for the industry in 2013, from Tourism Research Australia, show strong growth in domestic day travel and a 1.8% rise in domestic spending - a key ingredient for beach holiday destinations and business travel like miners and engineers.

 

Despite an $80 increase to the working holiday-makers visa charges - which could offset any rise in backpackers - the TRA forecast was for inbound tourism to rise 2.8% nationally, to $28 billion in 2012-13.

"Marginal changes have been made to the previous set of forecasts for inbound tourists and outbound departures in this updating round (October)," the TRA report reads.

"However, forecasts for domestic tourism have been revised upward."

And the areas likely to benefit from these positive forecasts were mining regions and the beach destinations, particularly in the Sunshine State.

In TFF's first National Accommodation Barometer, released in December, occupancy rates and tourism spend were up, although only slightly, throughout 2012.

That index showed small occupancy rates rises in both destination sectors between 1% and 2% in 2012, as well as larger rises in spending in mining and beach destinations, up between 4% and 6%.

While the industry will continue to battle the high Australian dollar and global economic uncertainty in 2013, these indicators point towards an up-tick in the industry, particularly for regional areas of Queensland.

In the past financial year, more than 1.1 million people attended the state's major events generating more than one-million visitor nights for Queensland.

The State Government's Regional Development Program will also help deliver 80 events in regional communities as well as six international business events attracting more than 4000 delegates.

QLD's 2013 event calendar highlights:

  • Bolshoi Ballet, QPAC International Series
  • Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Masters Games.
  • British &Irish Lions Tour at Suncorp Stadium.
  • NRL Cairns Regional Fixture, Rabbitohs v Titans.
  • Birdsville Races.
  • Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.
  • Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
  • Cairns Airport Adventure Festival.


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