October 2020 Update: From the Chief Executive

It is hard to know which topic is the most pressing for our industry at this time. In less than a week, we will know who Queenslanders want to lead the state for the next four years.

Either way – or with a hung Parliament – QTIC will continue to make the case that a strong and well-supported tourism industry it critical for this state and its recovery. We have taken our election priorities to all candidates and we have seen a number of announcements from both major parties that give us some confidence that we are being heard. Of course, election promises are just that, promises. During the next term of government, a lot of real action will have to take place to make sure tourism can not only recover but can power-up the economy and the community. This will also mean clear policy settings to give businesses confidence and certainty, including ongoing COVID-related restrictions. In this context, I draw your attention to the national “to-do list” released by the Business Council of Australia (BCA), calling for a clear path out of border restriction, both internal and international. It is based on a sobering assessment of the cost of travel restrictions and the loss of aviation links.

Another major emerging issue that will become very serious, even as some businesses still struggle with a lack of customers, is the shortage of staff and suitable skills. It is a complex issue and the result of multiple trends: JobKeeper payments acting as a disincentive to work, a dramatic decline in available Working Holiday Visa holders and international students with work permits, restrictions on labour mobility, business disruption earlier in the year and now a surge in domestic demand in some parts of the industry. This will require concerted action from both government and the private sector. With our ongoing role and activities in workforce development, QTIC is well placed to do its part and we look forward to working with government agencies, business operators and the regions to find practical solutions.

Perhaps more than ever, the tourism industry must be a prominent and visible participant in re-building this state and in making sure we make the most of the enormous potential tourism offers Queensland, as a generator of jobs, as a practical path towards sustainability and as a builder of regional communities.

Finally, a quick reminder of some important dates on the QTIC calendar coming up:

  • On Thursday and Friday, 12 and 13 November we will host the 10th annual Indigenous tourism forum – Destination IQ. This year it will be a ‘real’ and virtual event with impressive speakers and topical discussion. Opportunities to experience Indigenous tourism products in all regions are available on Friday. Check it out!
  • That Friday evening, 13 November, we will come together for our Tourism Village Celebration (not the Queensland Tourism Awards….). We have an impressive line-up of entertainment arranged for you and you may even meet the next Tourism Minister. It will be an uplifting night to celebrate an industry that will never give up and will stand together.
  • On 24 November QTIC will hold its 20th (!) AGM. The first QTIC AGM was not without its own crisis backdrop. It followed the collapse of ANSETT, the September 11 terrorist attacks and the collapse of the Tourism Council Australia. There will be elections for board members with nominations closing this week.

I thank you for your continued support.