The rising tide of international visitors lifts all vessels

The Premier, The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Minister for Tourism, The Honourable Kate Jones announced today that the number of international visitors to Queensland has reached an historic high.

“In 2016 we saw international holiday visitation grow a further 14 per cent and overnight expenditure was also up to $5.1 billion,” the Premier said.

“Our top five international markets – China, New Zealand, Japan and the USA – all delivered double-digit holiday visitor number growth.”

In the Southern Downs the Tourism Sector contributes approximately $70 million to the economy and employs approximately 1350 residents. Southern Downs Regional Council is working to support the local tourism sector and has plans to help it grow.

Portfolio Councillor for Tourism Rod Kelly said the Economic Development and Tourism Unit is working on a new Visitor Guide and website, which are both on track to be launched by the end of April.

“The Visitor Guide will be one of the first in the state to use Tourism and Events Queensland’s revised branding and will be the key piece of marketing collateral to inform and encourage visitors to the region,” he said.

The guide will be distributed to Visitor Information Centres across Queensland, Northern New South Wales, and at special events and consumer and industry trade shows.

“The Region needs to focus on or target the type of visitor that is going to add the most value to the local economy in the form of expenditure and repeat visitation where applicable,” Cr Kelly said.

“An objective should be to target those visitors that have the capacity to make a demonstrable contribution to the local economy. In the hierarchy of expenditure, these are the international overnight stays followed by the interstate and domestic overnight stays that are accessing local accommodation providers.

“To support higher levels of visitation to the Southern Downs region it is important for all those stakeholders involved in the visitor economy and tourism to collaborate and support marketing campaigns, as well as facilitate higher levels of service within the sector,” he added.

However, Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said “Marketing is not the silver bullet. The product and the service need to match customers’ expectations.”

“As a Council we encourage a collaborative effort from all operators in the region to ensure a complete visitor experience.

“Council will produce region-wide marketing material and we have plans to assist operators to reach best practice standards that will help to grow the sector. Currently the sector accounts for 4.16% of the Region’s economy compared to the Queensland average of 6.2%. If we can help our operators get to the Queensland average, it will mean an extra $34 million and another 300 jobs in our Region,” said Cr Dobie.

The Mayor also pointed out that the Southern Downs hosts more than 5000 backpackers each year from some of Queensland’s growth tourism markets, China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Europe.

“Council is working to attract return visitation by these international tourists for a more leisurely stay the next time they’re here,” she said.

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