Tourism Tropical North Queensland has been advocating for industry support since 10 December when Tropical Cyclone Jasper was looming and to date we have done more than 40 media appearances to let decision-makers and visitors know where help is needed.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Premier Steven Miles today [10 January] announced $24.25 million to assist the tourism industry in Tropical North Queensland, in addition to the $5 million announced a fortnight ago for flood recovery.
The Tourism Recovery and Resilience Program spending announced today provides $10 million in grants to support businesses that have been isolated or unable to trade due to the flooding from Tropical Cyclone Jasper, $10 million in Building Resilient Tourism Infrastructure grants for impacted tourism operators to rebuild stronger and $3 million for event promotions and a tourism campaign to attract more visitors back to the region.
The support will provide relief for Tropical North Queensland tourism operators who missed their peak season over Christmas and New Year and are unlikely to see significant visitor numbers until Easter. It is critical for the businesses that remain isolated to receive assistance so they can continue to pay wages and make the repairs necessary to resume trading once their access roads are open.
This support comes after intensive advocacy by Tourism Tropical North Queensland for assistance for the region’s industry which included multiple meetings with Ministers and senior Departmental officials to detail the case for support in the wake of a $300 million loss in bookings in December and January.
In addition we have done multiple media appearances since Ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper made landfall on 13 December. Our messaging that much of Tropical North Queensland was open for business and that the operators who were cut off from their customers needed assistance was amplified by the industry resulting in more than 600 media reports across Australia during December.
Tourism Minister Michael Healy, Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Trish O’Callaghan, Acting Director-General Andrew Sly, and Acting Deputy Director-General Darcy Slattery joined me yesterday to meet with key stakeholders in Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation.
It was important to hear directly from industry and see the impact of the flooding on their businesses. Revenue is down significantly for Port Douglas operators, while those north of the Daintree have had no customers for four weeks and face many more weeks of not being able to operate. Listening to the operators in Port Douglas and Daintree will enable us to better plan the region’s recovery in the short-term and consider the long-term implications to businesses and the destination.
Tropical North Queensland’s immediate recovery will be boosted by the launch of discounted flights on 5 January with more than 80% of the allocation already booked for visitors to arrive in January and February. These will be supported by discounted accommodation packages in coming weeks through Qantas Hotels & Holidays, My Queensland and Luxury Escapes.
As part of the assistance, recruitment is underway for a Tourism Recovery Officer to be located with TTNQ and the Infrastructure and Business Support program opening this month. All funding is administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and the program is delivered by the Department of Tourism and Sport and Tourism and Events Queensland.
The business support information has been collated on the TTNQ corporate website. This includes the assistance from TTNQ such as HR support which has already been utilised by 12 member businesses. I encourage you to explore this resource if you have been affected by the region’s unprecedented flooding.
Chief Executive Officer