Tourism

“We need to convert interest to bookings”: North QLD to get lions share of Scomo’s $60 million tourism boost

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

The federal government will provide a $60 million boost for Australia’s tourism industry in a bid to bring back international visitors.

Speaking in Cairns on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the package would be rolled out over the next two financial years to help build the tourism industry back up, with a quarter of the funds going directly to Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ).

The remaining $45 million will go to Tourism Australia to bolster efforts to get international tourists back into key regional destinations, including $25 million allocated to partnerships with trade wholesalers, airlines and the media and $5 million for Business Events Australia.

The PM said TTNQ were on the “cutting edge” of Australia’s inbound tourism market.

“I want to make sure that they can be up there, right out front as we go into this new phase,” Morrison said.

“And what they’ll be focusing on is converting that love of Australia into getting bums on seats, on planes and getting there as soon as possible.”

Morrison emphasised the focus on working with industry partners to convert interest into bookings.

“There’s $45 million that is going into Tourism Australia and that will be spread across three activities,” he continued.

“But the main one will be exactly what TTNQ is doing, and that is working with airline partners, working with the travel agents and the wholesale operators in the international markets all around the world and making sure there will be great product together with a great airline package and a great price, which means they’ll get here.”

According to Tourism Australia, advance bookings from UK travellers is almost back up to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, which Morrison said will be followed by the North American market.

Ken Chapman, chair of TTNQ, said the organisation plans to have a “particular focus” on trade marketing and “reinventing” its relationships with travel agents across the world.

“But this is about conversion. It’s not about brands so much as actually turning that enthusiasm to travel,” Chapman said.

“They’ve been stuck at home for two years. But they’ve always wanted to come down and see the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest and Australia more generally.

“We need to get in to convert that interest to actual bookings and that’s the focus.”

Morrison said the federal government is also investing $63.6 million to support science and research infrastructure to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the thousands of jobs and businesses that rely on the natural wonder.

The package aims to boost the scientific capabilities of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), which has been studying the Great Barrier Reef continuously for 35 years.

The funding includes $26.5 million to remediate AIMS’ Cape Cleveland wharf, south of Townsville, and an additional $1.5 million in ongoing funding to maintain the wharf.

The remaining $37.1 million will increase AIMS’ capability to deliver the critical marine science that protects and preserves oceans and coral reefs over three years, including $5.3 million for design work on a replacement for the AIMS research vessel, the RV Cape Ferguson, which has been in commission since 2000.

“This investment will allow our marine scientists to take their research to the next level, and continue to work alongside other scientists, farmers, traditional owners, local communities and tourism operators in our shared endeavour to understand and protect our iconic Great Barrier Reef,” Morrison said.

“The remediation of Cape Cleveland wharf will mean scientists can access the research vessels directly from the AIMS site, rather than having to board up in Townsville. It also means that after research trips scientists can seamlessly unload sensitive scientific research samples, including coral, rapidly from the reef to the aquarium complex.”


Featured image: Facebook/scottmorrisonmp



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