What do you think the modern traveller is looking for in a holiday destination? Well, if you thought world class beaches, breathtaking scenery, unmatched natural beauty and an authentic, welcoming culture… you’d be correct. And with these traits at the heart of the Queensland tourism experience, it’s no wonder tourism has the potential to be one of the major growth drivers of the Queensland economy. Tourism leading the way Interestingly, the things that make the state a marvellous magnet for visitors – world class beaches, wonderful scenery, unmatched natural beauty and an authentic, welcoming culture – also rank its lifestyle and liveability high on the wish list for many Australians and international travellers who are lucky enough to have a holiday in the sunshine state. Tourism is already big business in Queensland – a $23 billion industry, contributing 7.5% of the state’s gross product and 1 in 11 jobs (220,000 in total). It’s also the third biggest export (behind coal and food) at 14% of Queensland’s total. Tourism should certainly sit alongside agribusiness, education, health care and the energy and resources sectors as critical drivers of Queensland’s growing economy. But more than that, I also believe tourism can help lead the way for other key priorities, including attracting more people from other states and overseas to call Queensland home, appealing to interstate and international students as an education powerhouse, encouraging investment and creating demand for Queensland products in Australia and as exports. Queensland moving front and centre stage There are many eyes on Queensland at the moment. The Commonwealth Games are less than a year away and they have been a catalyst for renewal and investment in infrastructure, the transport network and facilities on the Gold Coast and beyond. Queensland has a strong ambition and robust plan to ensure these investments and momentum have a legacy and impact well past the Games’ closing ceremony. In our recent report Confidently Queensland, we identified tourism as one of Queensland’s key growth sectors. This wouldn’t have come as a surprise to many people. The sector is already attracting increasing focus and greater levels of investment, but there remains scope to bring increased focus and to better integrate investment with existing assets, to recalibrate our tourism offerings, business models and workforce capabilities. The result? The opportunity to consistently deliver the very best of Queensland, and ensure every visitor leaves as an energised ambassador for the State. An ambitious future In the decade ahead, there are opportunities and investments that could see tourism in Queensland reach even greater heights. It’s all about asking the right questions to drive innovative answers and creative ideas. What could tourism in Queensland look like in 2027? How do we keep everyone’s attention on Queensland? Tourism in Queensland is on such a strong footing, with sustained focus, energy and investment it can make the most of its advantages and the current spotlight and be on track to achieve the following: Be an even more important contributor to Queensland’s economy, and importantly, be seen as a key opportunity to diversify and add resilience to the economy across many of Queensland’s regions (creating lifestyle opportunities in regional areas for young people and families) Have developed a truly authentic, uniquely relaxed and welcoming, service style which visitors would come to expect in Queensland. Everywhere we speak of experiential tourism, and while there’s a key need for government, industry and training providers to ensure that curricula is designed and delivered to ensure our workers have the requisite and contemporary skills, there is a need to personalise this and add a definitive Queensland look and feel Make the most of its airport network and create practical and geographically proximate itineraries that feature memorable and captivating experiences with efficient ground transport Be recognised for its contribution in building Queensland’s reputation in the areas of arts, music and culture. Tourism can help spread the word to the world! Be acknowledged and championed by Queenslanders, not only for the economic activity it generates and the jobs it creates all across the State, but because it benefits them personally and enriches liveability for everyone. Tourism has a key part to play in Queensland’s future. Download Confidently Queensland to find out more about the vision and the economic dividend at stake. What would you like to see happen in Queensland tourism over the next decade? I’d love to hear your thoughts.