THE State Government has turned tourism into one of the key election issues, with the announcement of a $50-million package to "reboot" tourism in Queensland.
In making the announcement on Friday, Premier Anna Bligh said: "Tourism is a major driver of the Queensland economy, which contributes $17 billion to the local economy and sustains 220,000 jobs - almost 10% of the workforce".
The policy, Rebooting Tourism, includes a sweetener for Gladstone voters. The Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited (GAPDL) will see its state government funding doubled to $400,000 a year.
- The Bligh government's plan aims to double visitor spending by 2020.
- It includes a $5-million strategy to attract more Chinese tourists and encourage them to visit the regions.
What the candidates had to say:
Katter Party candidate Anthony Beezley:
Tourism has many faces and small business is a by-product of the tourism industry and Gladstone has a tourism industry even though very small...
The recreational fishing industry earns about $3 billion a year nationally.
So our waterways need to be protected and supported.
Greens Party candidate Andrew Blake:
Gladstone tourism is built on its natural wonders, but these are under threat with the old parties determined to chase mining dollars. I know how hard tourism operators in Gladstone are doing with accommodation shortages. The Greens are committed to tourism, and reject this should come at the expense of mining.
Labor Party candidate Glenn Butcher:
GAPDL is Gladstone's peak tourism body, responsible for developing and promoting tourism in our region. It was a welcomed announcement earlier this week that the Bligh Government would double its funding to boost and continue the great work of the local team. I fully support this decision.
Liberal National Party candidate Russel Schroter:
Accommodation for tourism, sporting and social functions has proven to be one of the problems associated with the incredible development occurring in the city. It is a similar problem mirrored throughout the region. The answer is almost impossible to solve and people must be mindful to plan well in advance.
Independent member Liz Cunningham:
There are two major pressure points affecting tourism promotion. The first is accommodation. Until workers are moved from motels, hotels and units, visitors who ring ahead find there is little choice for accommodation. The second disincentive to visitors is the harbour. Both can be corrected and need to be promptly.