The opposition has hit out at the state government for focusing too closely on the wrong figures, in the latest tourism data.
A report from Tourism Research Australia has been celebrated by the Tourism Minister Kate Jones, who says tourism expenditure is at an all time high.
“We’re seeing record visitor expenditure across Queensland breaking $6 billion for the first time, but also here on the Gold Coast a three percent increase on the last quarter.
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“This is a more than 11 percent turnaround from when the Palaszczuk Government was elected at the beginning of 2015.
While expenditure growth is at a record high, visitor numbers have dropped off again.
Queensland’s share of the market is down 0.3 percent to 32.1 percent – the lowest proportion of international visitors to the state on record.
The Shadow Minister for Tourism, David Crisafulli, says the government is focusing on the wrong numbers, and that more needs to be done to rebuild tourism in the sunshine state.
“If you keep on trying to pull more money out of less pockets, eventually you run out of pockets to pull money out of.
“I want to see a growing number of visitors coming here, and then we can work on driving them to stay here longer and getting more money out of them.
“The fact that there’s been 22,000 less visitors here is scary.”
“But we can do better,” Mr Crisafulli said.
Mr Crisafulli said the new statistics reveal that the Gold Coast and Cairns had the largest reduction in international tourists in the whole nation, while Townsville, the Whitsundays and Bundaberg all lost millions of dollars in regional expenditure.
The Member for Broadwater has two key ideas in mind for how the government can reverse the figures: by providing certainty for potential investors in the state by limiting new taxes each budget, and focusing on different tourism offerings such as eco-tourism.
“Nowhere can benefit as much as the Gold Coast from a good, opened, expanded eco-tourism offering in the hinterland.
“Let’s have people not just walk through a national park, let’s get them to stay overnight, let people make a living out of it.
“Let’s pump some money back into improving the offering, Let’s grow a different tourism offering for the city,” Mr Crisafulli said.
Related article: Overseas visitor numbers to the Gold Coast down, but spending soars