Brisbane 1 October 2013. Queensland is on the cusp of a massive boom in tourism, with new investments on the table in Port Douglas, Cairns, Hayman Island, the Whitsundays, Yeppoon and the Sunshine Coast, as well as burgeoning interest from tourists from the UAE, China and Japan.
That's the message the Premier has brought back from a trade mission to key export partners and investment hubs.
“The challenge for the Queensland tourism industry and Government is to deliver on commitments in the DestinationQ strategy, as well as to lock in streamlined project approvals with the Federal Government to cut red tape and support new investments in hotels and resorts,” Mr Newman said.
“Recent figures that show a 32 per cent spike in the number of visitors from China have fuelled confidence among tourism operators.
"We were able to make significant progress in our discussions with investors, and there was optimism among the delegates of an unprecedented period of growth in Queensland’s tourism industry,” Mr Newman said.
“We’re also confident that we’ve taken steps towards persuading airlines to expand their services into our state.
“With a value of $14.8 billion a year, China is Queensland’s single largest trading partner and we see great potential for Chinese investment to drive some of the major projects that Queensland needs.
“For example, there's a great opportunity for partnership between the Australian and Chinese business sectors to create new irrigation schemes on the Gilbert River in Queensland's north.
“It’s win-win; they need a reliable source of high quality food products and we need the investment dollars to help drive projects.
"As the Chinese juggernaut continues and Japan shows signs of resurgence, there are also some realistic expectations of a prolonged period of sustained growth for the Queensland mining sector.
"But perhaps the surprise packet of the trip was the amount of interest that was expressed in our Education and Training sector.
"Indeed, such was the degree of interest, that planning is already underway for Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek to visit countries throughout the Middle East and Asia to capitalise on the great demand for high quality tertiary education."
Mr Newman used the trade mission to promote Queensland's considerable strengths as a dynamic and reliable trading partner and said there had been a significant shift in the way Queensland was perceived internationally.
"There was a real recognition in the countries we visited that Queensland's economy had matured and was no longer solely dependent on beef and coal exports," he said.
“We were able to generate a great deal of interest in the industries associated with Queensland's four economic pillars of resources, agriculture, construction and tourism, but also in the fields of education and training, infrastructure, and science.
“I’m confident the links we created on this mission will lead to millions of dollars’ worth of new projects in our state."