International education and working holiday makers are back and leisure travel is looking tantalising close as the tourism industry waits for the Federal Government to expand the number of visa categories allowed to enter Australia.
The Queensland Government’s announcement last week that quarantine would no longer be required for travellers from overseas allows airlines to start planning their return strategy. A flight from Singapore arrived in Brisbane on the weekend and flights are scheduled to the Gold Coast next month.
Our turn will come, but Tropical North Queensland’s $1 billion a year international tourism industry could take as many as five years to come back to pre-pandemic levels. TTNQ is lobbying for the destination to re-open as soon as possible and is planning to drive the international recovery within three years so that we have our $1 billion a year industry back by 2025. However, this needs more funding.
With the Federal election campaign well underway, Chair Ken Chapman and I are heading to Canberra next month to ask for $40 million over three years to maintain our strong presence in the domestic market and, most importantly, to drive our share of international visitation through aviation and support for industry to re-enter the market.
These funds would help the region secure more affordable direct aviation connections, support the industry to have a stronger in-market presence to secure our region’s market share, and help us to maintain our strong position in the domestic market. It is vitally important for our international operators, who have had little income for more than two years, to be supported to travel overseas and re-engage with the international market once again.
TTNQ has been ramping up the destination’s presence through publicity and trade engagement in key markets in Europe and Japan, and in the short-term in New Zealand. Our sales and marketing managers for the Western and Asian markets have just returned from in-market trips to identify the obstacles to travel to our region. Much has changed while borders have been closed and we have an enormous amount of work to do in those markets before we enjoy the $1 billion success that decades of in-market hard slog achieved.
Before we open further, we need a workforce and TTNQ is about to launch activity in the Working Holiday Maker market to ensure we align with and leverage Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland’s campaigns.
There is much work to be done, but that glimmer of an international rebound is driving us forward and we can’t wait to support the Tropical North Queensland tourism industry to hunt as a pack globally once again and build back better.
Chief Executive Officer