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Tourism boom could create 20,000 jobs by 2020

Queensland’s tourism industry could be set to create up to 20,000 jobs over the next four years, with the state government launching a new action plan to encourage more people to consider a career in the sector.

According to Tourism Research Australia data, the industry already generates $23 billion a year and contributes 7.5 per cent of gross state product. Furthermore, tourism supports approximately 220,000 jobs in Queensland, which represents one in every 11 positions.

Queensland locations comprised six of the top 10 Australian regional school holiday destinations.

Job creation was the key focus at the DestinationQ forum in Mackay on October 25, where more than 300 tourism industry leaders convened to discuss issues affecting the sector.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk spoke at the event, where she confirmed that creating new jobs in Queensland is firmly on the agenda over the coming years.

“With our proximity to Asia and our beautiful natural assets up and down the coast and through the Outback, we know we have a great opportunity to grow the tourism industry,” she stated.

“Our action plan will help guide the partnership between government and industry as we grow the industry and create jobs for Queenslanders.”

Advancing Tourism action plan

At the forum, Ms Palaszczuk and Tourism Minister Kate Jones unveiled the Advancing Tourism 2016–2020: Growing Queensland Jobs strategy, which aims to leverage the Jobs Queensland and Advance Queensland schemes.

In a government press release, Ms Jones said tourism will need “thousands of new skilled employees” to take advantage of industry opportunities over the next four years. The Daily Mercury confirmed that she specifically claimed 20,000 jobs in Queensland would be necessary to support expected demand.

Surfers Paradise beach
Surfers Paradise is Australia’s top location for regional school holiday getaways.

There are four strategic areas upon which the strategy will focus:

  • Seizing Asian opportunities
  • Investing in infrastructure and access
  • Creating more quality products, events and experiences
  • Building a skilled workforce and business capabilities

The increased emphasis on job creation could also provide more opportunities for apprenticeships and traineeships in tourism and related industries. Ms Jones highlighted how the government is already using existing schemes to concentrate on delivering more skilled workers to key employers.

“Our Back to Work regional jobs program and Accelerate Small Business Grants are designed to support small businesses and tourism operators [to] develop and hire skilled employees and grow their businesses,” she stated.

Tourism going from strength to strength

The announcement of the Advancing Tourism strategy followed news in September that Queensland had enjoyed a bumper holiday season, with the state being the number one choice for Australians while school was out.

Statistics from Wotif revealed Queensland locations comprised six of the top 10 Australian regional school holiday destinations, impressively clinching the first four spots on the rankings.

“Mantra Hotels are telling us that 70 per cent of all their long weekend bookings nationwide are here in Queensland.”

Surfers Paradise was the most popular location, while Cairns came second and Maroochydore-Mooloolaba was listed third. Noosa, Broadbeach and Port Douglas rounded out the remaining Queensland destinations.

Ms Jones said the state had 20 million overnight visitors in the 12 months to June this year, with 8 million of these enjoying holidays. She said a healthy school holiday season is a good indicator of continued growth in Queensland’s tourism.

“Mantra Hotels are telling us that 70 per cent of all their long weekend bookings nationwide are here in Queensland. And we are hearing that Christmas is going to be even better,” Ms Jones commented.

With increased investment, government support and comprehensive strategies in place, Queensland’s already booming tourism industry looks destined for further growth in the coming years.

This is likely to spell good news for those training towards qualifications in the sector, particularly if government action plans continue to support businesses and focus on job creation.

By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator

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