Tourism in Action: Daniel Gschwind (October)

This state of origin contest matters more than any other.

For a state so obsessively focused on coming out on top of NSW and other states when it comes to sporting contests, we should transfer that fighting spirit to matching it with the rest of Australia when it comes to COVID vaccination rates. Disappointingly, Queensland is not making the grade at the moment, lagging behind almost at the bottom of the table. Finally, the state government has given us what we had been calling for months: a roadmap out of isolation and towards a more sustainable tourism future. We will continue to work with the federal and state governments to map out the necessary operational details of getting our industry and your businesses going again.

It is in our grasp to welcome interstate visitors again in December and hopefully international visitors early in the new year. The joy for some of Queensland’s region may be short-lived if the virus, likely to arrive over coming months, is able cause significant infections in regional communities with low vaccination rates. We simply cannot let this happen. We cannot afford it. So let’s pull out all stops to encourage staff, friends, family and the community to drive up the vax rates. Particularly younger age groups seem to need reminding of what is at stake. The freedom to socialise, enjoy events and concerts and going out is surely of particular interest to a younger age group. They are also very strongly represented in the tourism and hospitality workforce. Any uncontrolled outbreak of the virus after the borders open may put at risk not just a destination but also individual businesses and their staff if they are found to be hotspots or close contacts.

The last thing we need is any further disruption to our workforce from this virus. Finding staff and ensuring the right skills are in place is the number one challenge to our industry post-COVID. This is not just a short-term threat, it is potentially a risk to our reputation as a quality destination. We can expect strong demand from interstate visitors as the borders open, thousands of visitors eager to enjoy themselves in our beautifully marketed holiday state that has been out of their reach for so long. We cannot disappoint them if we want them to come back in the future. Now is our time to shine and exceed expectations with quality experiences that reassure consumers that our product can match it with the best in the world.

I want to thank all those businesses who are very focused on delivering those quality services, building Queensland’s reputation. Many are engaged in QTIC’s programs and initiatives that offer opportunities and support to address workforce and quality challenges and I encourage you all to consider the benefits of these programs. You can find more details in the information below about our Regional Career Roadshows, the Micro-credentialing Program, our Accreditation and Star Rating programs and more, and - of course – the Queensland Tourism Awards next month. More than 1,000 tourism colleagues will come together on the 12 November to celebrate the industry’s strength and its future.

I look forward to seeing you there.