The Morrison Government is consulting with Cairns and Port Douglas tourism operators to help ensure the long-term viability of the Far North Queensland tourism industry.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan is in Far North Queensland to meet with tourism operators, small businesses and representatives of the local industry.
Mr Tehan and Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch will meet with representatives of Cairns and Port Douglas tourism businesses, marine park tourism operators and the hospitality sector, as well as advocacy groups Advance Cairns and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.
“I want to listen to local tourist operators and understand how state border closures and the loss of international tourists are impacting them,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Morrison Government is working with the tourism sector, not only in Far North Queensland, but across Australia on a post-JobKeeper plan for tourism.
“We have already launched a $5 million advertising blitz to encourage Australians to book a domestic holiday this year to support local jobs and businesses.
“Our Government has also supported the tourism industry through access to JobKeeper and the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.
“We are contributing $8 million towards the construction of the Wangetti Trail from the Mowbray River through to Palm Cove. This will include trail construction, upgrades to bridges, improved campsites and associated infrastructure facilities to make it a significant tourist attraction.
“The data indicates that people still want to go on holidays, but they are more cautious than ever. Border restrictions are now a bigger concern than COVID-19 to Australians who are planning a holiday.
“The re-opening of the Queensland border to NSW will allow more tourists to return to Far North Queensland and our Government is working with the states and territories to adopt a consistent approach to border closures and hotspots that will give certainty to tourist operators and Australians planning their next holiday.”
Mr Entsch said domestic tourism was worth $100 billion to the Australian economy and more than $2.2 billion annually to the Cairns and Port Douglas economies.
He said Cairns and Port Douglas didn’t have a tourism problem, it had a confidence problem due to snap border closures.
“Because of Australia’s strong response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want tourist destinations like Cairns and Port Douglas to be ready for an influx of visitors when international travel resumes after the successful rollout of a vaccine,” Mr Entsch said.
“In the meantime, we want Australians to have the confidence to have their next holiday here in Far North Queensland to support local businesses and local jobs.
“The Morrison Government has provided $2.2 million to tourism operations in Far North Queensland, including Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Rainforestation Nature Park through the Zoos and Aquariums Grants program.
“If you’re a tourism operation that exhibits animals then I strongly urge you to check your eligibility for this grant program and apply for funding.
“Tourism is the lifeblood of Cairns and Far North Queensland and I am working on behalf of everyone in Leichhardt to support our tourism operators and workers.”