Mr ENTSCH: I rise this afternoon to talk about an industry that forms part of the lifeblood of my electorate.
Tourism is certainly a big deal in my neck of the woods.
We have the best natural offerings in the nation, such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and our wet tropics.
There’s absolutely no doubt that the Great Barrier Reef is critically important to the Queensland and national economy.
It contributes around $6.4 billion a year to Australia’s economy, along with 64,000 jobs, many of which are in my electorate.
People travel from all over the world to experience the natural wonders in our backyard.
However, it’s not only the natural wonders that attract people to my electorate.
We have some of the best accommodation and some of the greatest tourist attractions and hospitality offerings in our state.
Take billionaire Ghassan Aboud, who has invested hundreds of millions of dollars of his own funds into building three world-class hotels in our city, the first new hotels built in more than two decades.
Mr Aboud should be and needs to be applauded for his vision and, most importantly, for his vote of confidence in our city and our region.
We’ve also had some of the best tourism operators in the nation, such as the CaPTA Group, Quicksilver, Experience Co, Cairns Aquarium, Skyrail and Nautilus, just to name a few.
They have invested significant amounts of money in offering new products to our domestic and international visitors.
However, unfortunately our tourism sector is doing it a little tough at the moment.
There’s certainly light at the end of the tunnel.
According to the latest data, international visitor numbers to Tropical North Queensland are down 3.1 per cent.
While the numbers might be down, the 849,000 international visitors to Tropical North Queensland spent a staggering $1.077 billion, up 2.7 per cent, in that period of time.
Domestic tourism, however, is faring a little better.
According to the latest data, more than $2.065 million domestic tourists have visited Tropical North Queensland in the year ending December 2018.
These visitors spent $2.3 billion, a significant increase from the previous year.
That’s not bad for a little community of 170,000 permanent residents.
Research has continually shown that people want more for their holidays.
They want different and unique experiences and we must adapt to cater to that.
One exciting new attraction that will absolutely cater for this is the Wangetti Trail.
Once completed it will be a world-leading ecotourism attraction.
It was designed by the world-renowned trail designer, Cairns local Glen Jacobs, and will offer an amazing experience—funded in part by the national Tourism Icons Package, which was announced by the federal government this year.
I also acknowledge the significant amount from the Queensland government.
History has shown that when we work together instead of against each other positive things are achieved.
We have a fantastic story to tell and product to sell in Tropical North Queensland and it is high time we start selling it in an effective and pointed manner.