Gladstone misses out on tourism millions

GLADSTONE is missing out on its share of more than $50 million a year.

But the solution is in the hands of tourist organisations, a leading Queensland expert on the subject says.

According to Tourism and Events Queensland, a domestic reef visitor spends about $497.

This adds up to $924m annually.

Tourism author and academic Brent Ritchie says bringing 5% more visitors to the Southern Great Barrier Reef region will see an extra $57m flow into local coffers annually.

The University of Queensland School of Tourism head said the Australian tourism market was ripe for the picking thanks to falling fuel prices.

"Gladstone's probably got an image or a perception problem - that they don't have tourism activities there," Associate Professor Ritchie said.

"I think that's more about image change and awareness."

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development chief Glenn Churchill said the region's challenges included limited national park access and flooded roads.

"We have more national parks in this area than the whole of Tasmania and we need improved access to those national parks."

- APN NEWSDESK



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