What state needs to avoid tourism turbulence
AUSTRALIA'S airline chiefs discuss the future of "brand Queensland" and how we can ensure the industry gets the lift-off it needs.
ALAN JOYCE, Qantas Group CEO:
WHEN it comes to tourism in Queensland, the future is bright.
But that doesn't mean there aren't challenges ahead, or that success is guaranteed. The competition for tourist dollars is fierce.
There are dozens of capital cities and regional towns around the country rolling out the welcome mat to Australian tourists and international visitors.
And people living overseas already have literally thousands of places they can go on holiday. We're not the only place offering sand and surf.
And each year, the market seems to become more and more discerning.
Events. Attractions. World-class hotels. Food. Natural beauty.
And the fortunate thing for Queensland is, you already have a lot of this in spades - with more coming.
The incredible Queens Wharf development in Brisbane is a great example.
The rebuilt Daydream Island resort saw its first visitors in April, with the reopening of Hayman Island to follow in July.
On the Gold Coast, Sea World has just announced a redevelopment, and a huge, seven-tower Star precinct is under way there, too.
And we can guarantee more tourists will come to Queensland if more are coming to Australia in the first place.
That's why it's essential that we have a clear, unified national brand for Australia.
I'm not just talking about a new slogan or a TV ad. I'm talking about something that brings together all the qualities that will help our diverse industries thrive in the global marketplace.
Because while we have a great image as a tourist destination, it needs more depth.
Twiggy Forrest is putting together a massive effort to help sell a different side of Australia to the world: one of skills, technology, ingenuity, trade, heritage and culture - and I'm proud to be a part of that team.
Qantas and Jetstar are doing a lot, too.
We are the largest private investor in Queensland tourism. We're adding more international flights across the state, like Jetstar's new Gold Coast to Seoul service and Qantas flying from Brisbane to new destinations in North America.
And our recent world-first zero waste flight shows our commitment to an environment that future generations of tourists can enjoy.
Queensland is synonymous with
Australian tourism. With continued investment, it always will be.
PAUL SCURRAH, Virgin Australia group CEO & MD:
BEING a Queensland resident, I don't need to tell you what attracts visitors to our region - the scenery speaks for itself.
But to continue to drive foot traffic up north, we need to invest in protecting the tourism drawcards that call Queensland home.
It is the Sunshine State's tourism experience that keeps visitor numbers on a steady incline. Yet there is a reason why the Climate Council outlined in 2018 that "the tourism industry is both the most vulnerable and the least prepared to manage climate risks".
The Great Barrier Reef puts it into perspective at a local level. Here is an ecosystem that contributes more than $6.4 billion annually to the Australian economy.
Yet climate change is well and truly having an impact on the Reef, threatening the viability of the Queensland tourism industry along with it.
As an airline that operates 6000 return flights to the Reef region each year, we are aware of how our operations contribute to the issue of climate change.
Yet we are also focused on being an active participant in finding solutions. Because to keep such iconic destinations on the holiday bucket list and conserve them as natural assets will require a whole-of-industry buy-in.
To put it into context, a large part of our Queensland operations rely on tourism destinations to drive demand.
This demand turns into dollar figures for tourism operators, who are then able to support the jobs that keep the industry humming along.
The industry can then invest more in the experience, which attracts the crowds to the destinations in the first place.
Tourism is a circular economy, but by not taking proper care of the habitats that draw the tourists in to begin with, we are biting the hand that feeds us.
For Virgin Australia, it is about investing in partnerships like the one that we have with Greening Australia, whose Reef Aid program is helping to improve the water quality of the Reef.
It is about collaborating with the State Government to trial the commercial use of sustainable aviation fuels from Brisbane Airport to lower carbon emissions.
It is about engaging with other tourism operators to promote sustainable tourism practices.
We have a role to play here, but so do other business, government and industry players.
Attracting tourists to visit and experience the Sunshine State is only the starting point.
The end game needs to be focused on what we can be doing, individually and collectively, to see a positive return on investment for our environment, as this will secure a positive growth trajectory for the tourism market for many years to come.