Hopes high DestinationQ will lead resurgence of tourism in the Far North
PREMIER Campbell Newman promises to have an action plan today that will pull the struggling tourism sector from its doldrums, as a high-level think tank wraps up in Cairns.
The landmark DestinationQ forum, which is relied on as a turning point for the industry, got under way at the Pullman Reef Casino yesterday. More than 300 delegates from industry and governments have converged for the two days of talks.
"Tourism used to be one of our iconic industries, and employs thousands of people – particularly young people," Mr Newman said yesterday.
"And yet it is a faded, jaded story right across Queensland."
Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said it was the industry’s first chance since 1985 to get together and discuss issues key to its survival.
"We are committed to repositioning Queensland as No. 1," she said.
The summit, which continues today, is broken into six key themes the LNP Government hopes will help it double overnight visitor expenditure to
$30 billion by 2020.
"We need new investment, we need better skills training, we need powerful marketing campaigns, we need to get teamwork going between Tourism Queensland, the Regional Tourism Organisations and the people that actually deliver product out there on the ground," Mr Newman said.
"It also needs a lot of assistance from government, for example, getting eco-tourism and adventure tourism going in our national parks and great wilderness area."
Mr Newman said discussions overnight and today would help form an action plan to "meet the needs of the industry".
"And we’ll come back in a year’s time… where we actually review critically what has happened over this 24-hour
The Premier said it was proof of the LNP’s commitment to the tourism industry that DestinationQ included government delegates such as Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Treasurer Tim Nicholls. But the State Opposition’s Curtis Pitt is disappointed an invitation wasn’t extended outside LNP ranks.
"I have very strong views about what the tourism sector needs to do and how we need to be moving forward," he said.
"It’s only to be assumed that the LNP Government don’t want anybody from outside applying any additional scrutiny."
The forum was off to a rocky start yesterday when a small protest from the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender support group attempted to upstage Mr Newman’s entrance.
The group was protesting against the LNP’s watering down of civil union laws, and said the policies would hinder the "pink" tourism dollar in Cairns.
But Mr Newman dismissed their claims that gay tourists would feel unsafe in Cairns because of the Government’s stance on civil unions.
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Key talks: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey are in Cairns for discussions to revive the tourism industry.