The 20 per cent cut to tourism marketing and events funding announced in today’s Queensland budget threatens tourism jobs across the state, according to peak tourism industry body, Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the funding cut is completely at odds with the state’s rhetoric.
“This budget kicks away one of the four pillars of Queensland’s economy. You don’t grow tourism by cutting funding by nearly 20 per cent,” Mr Morrison said.
“Today’s budget cuts tourism and events funding from $111 million in 2013-14 to $91 million in 2014-15 – a reduction of $20 million, which will negatively impact on Tourism & Events Queensland’s ability to market Queensland and secure and develop events.
“The decision to cut funding is a false economy, as the short-term savings this measure will deliver will be far outweighed by the slowdown in activity throughout Queensland’s visitor economy.
“Tourism is extremely competitive and rival destinations are upping the ante in terms of tourism marketing, events, and investment in tourism infrastructure and experiences, so we would have liked to see the Newman government back the 140,000 Queenslanders directly employed in tourism and the further 101,000 employed as a result of tourism activity.
“While we understand the need to invest in the Commonwealth Games and G20, that should not come at the expense of the funding Tourism and Events Queensland needs to maintain its marketing and events activities and to ensure the state remains competitive.
“If Queensland is to have any chance of reaching the Tourism 2020 goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020, as stated in its DestinationQ Blueprint, additional support is needed for tourism marketing and events – not cuts – as well as investment in demand-driving tourism infrastructure.
“Other governments at commonwealth and state level have also faced tough budgets but have maintained their tourism funding – Queensland is out of step.
“Tourism is an economic development strategy for Queensland and investing money in tourism marketing and events delivers a great return, supporting jobs and businesses across the state and helping generate the spending and private sector investment the Queensland government needs to get the state’s finances back on track.”