Queensland spends big to boost tourism

·2-min read

Queensland is rolling out the red carpet to tourists from COVID-19-free states and territories in a bid to breathe life into its ailing tourism sector.

The Sunshine State has $380 million worth of major events planned for the second half of 2021, including a cycling festival, an outback golf tournament, and the TV WEEK Logie Awards.

They're expected to inject millions of dollars into local businesses and support jobs as they draw visitors around the state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the events' list, which also includes the Gold Coast 500 Supercars race, shows Queensland's COVID-19 economic recovery plan is working.

"We're encouraging Aussies particularly from Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia to book holidays in Queensland and support our tourism businesses that have done it tough throughout the pandemic," she said on Sunday.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the closure of Australia's international border during the pandemic had blown a $6 billion hole in the state's visitor economy.

"I appreciate the many challenges the global pandemic has created for Queensland tourism operators," he said.

"Events encourage Queenslanders and interstate visitors to explore our regions and spend with local businesses, from accommodation providers and restaurants, to tourism operators with unique holiday experiences."

The 'Live! In Queensland' campaign is expected to return 76 per cent more to the visitor economy in the second half of 2021 than the $215 million it did in the first six months of the year.

Meanwhile, the release of 38,000 more Holiday Dollars vouchers is expected to further boost the tourism industry's recovery.

The extra vouchers requested by tourism operators will be released in Southeast Queensland, with 10,000 more vouchers available on the Gold Coast and 19,000 more in Brisbane, each valued at $100.

"Already, more than $7 million worth of bookings have been made in areas where the schemes been rolled out for holidaymakers," Ms Palaszczuk said.

In Cairns, 9000 visitors will be given $200 Holiday Dollars when they arrive at Cairns Airport.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the program would help destinations that had lost significant numbers of international visitors to the pandemic.

"When tourism is doing well, whole regions do well," he said.

The government estimated that for each dollar given away in Holiday Dollars, $2.57 is spent with tourism operators and in local economies.

"We've also noticed visitors with vouchers tend to spend more like international tourists by upgrading to premium experiences on reef tours or whale watching boats," Mr Hinchliffe said.

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