From sold-out events and attractions to busy roads and accommodation houses, Outback Queensland is shaping up as a tourism driving force and bringing Queenslanders along for the ride.
Outback Queensland Tourism Association (OQTA) Chair and Blackall-Tambo Mayor, Cr Andrew Martin said despite the significant knocks and recent uncertainty due to COVID, the region was shaping up as Queensland’s tourism engine and delivering for all of Queensland at this critical time.
“We have great advantages in Outback Queensland that are continuing to draw visitors to our region, including the freedom that our wide-open safe spaces, vibrant events and iconic experiences can deliver,” he said.
Cr Martin said recent research from the group revealed that while it had been a challenging year, Outback Queensland tourism is shining bright, and the data backed up what they were seeing on-ground.
“According to location analysts Localis, more than 700,000 non-locals visited the Outback region spending more than 3.6 million nights throughout September 2020 to July 2021,” Cr Martin said, “This is a fantastic result that has blown our already ambitious target of 500,000 non-local visitors for this period out of the water by around 37%.”
“While some of these visitors aren’t always tourists, this is an extraordinary level of visitation and importantly spend.”
“This is some much-needed positive news to put some fuel in the tank for all of Queensland tourism. Our region was hit hard by the first round of lockdowns arriving right on cue with the beginning of our 2020 tourism season. And we’ll be working our way back from that impact for some time.
“No doubt there are more challenges ahead and the road to recovery is still set to be bumpy. There are a lot of businesses struggling, in addition to dealing with staffing shortages and cancellation due to lockdowns.
“That’s why we need tourism investment and initiatives to also look west to help us deal with and grow at this pivotal time,” he said.
“The latest results show we have built up some great momentum after such a hard knock and it underlines just how incredibly important our region is to all of Queensland, not just as a destination but as a tourism leader on the road to recovery.”
“We’re keeping some good runs on the board for the Queensland tourism industry, and we hope that with ongoing attention to product development and marketing partnerships, Outback Queensland will continue to capitalise on family market success for our operators,” Cr Martin said.
“While we did face uncertainty in recent weeks which saw a wave of cancellations and departures, we’re still very thankful to remain COVID-free in our region and hope to remain so.
“Our priority is to keep our communities and visitors safe. Our operators, as always, are working within government requirements for all operations, activities and events, and we encourage anyone considering a trip to do the same – travel well, travel safe.
“And rest assured we’re still just down the road from the rest of our Queensland mates, waiting to welcome new and returned visitors to Outback Queensland. If you think you’ve done the Outback, think again. There is always something to discover across this wonderful region,” Cr Martin said.