INCREASINGLY more people are visiting and spending money in outback Queensland with new data showing visitations during the 2015-2016 financial year generated more than $200 million to the local economy, up by almost 20 per cent.
The Regional Tourism Satellite Accounts 2015-2016 data, released by Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones, shows the outback tourism area, which includes Mt Isa, Cloncurry, Hughenden, Longreach, Winton, Roma, Charleville, Cunnamulla and Birdsville, saw a significant growth in tourism employment and gross regional product.
During this time, the Total Tourism Gross Regional Product in the outback increased by 19.6 per cent in the year ending June 2016 and generated $214 million to the local economy.
Outback Tourism Queensland Association General Manager Peter Homan said people were swapping their beach holidays for a country getaway.
“We provide a safe authentic Australian experience which resonates with the travelling public,” he said.
“Sales of motorhomes, caravans and camper trailers continue to grow and we attract more families these days who love to bond on an outback adventure.
“All access points have seen increased traffic through rail, road and airports – a positive outlook for our future.”
Mr Homan said the increase was hugely important to an area of Queensland which had battled through droughts in many years.
“Tourism provides an alternative source of employment for Outback communities to the agriculture and resource sectors,” he said,
“As those two sectors have been affected by drought and a softening in the sector over recent years it is very satisfying to see an increase in both visitation and employment in our area.”
Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said the Regional Tourism Satellite Accounts 2015-16 data highlighted the importance of a thriving tourism industry.
“The employment opportunities in Queensland’s Outback have grown 17.6 per cent in the year ending June 2016, to employ 2000 people, or 5.9 per cent of the workforce,” she said.
“This latest data demonstrates the widespread benefits of the industry to Queensland’s unique destinations, the economy and as a strong contributor to the workforce.
“It is clear tourism and events make a valuable economic contribution to the state, but it also makes vital contributions to Queensland’s diverse and unique culture, lifestyle and livability.”
For more information about the Regional Tourism Satellite Accounts 2015-16 data, visit teq.queensland.com