18 March, 2021
Left in the dirt
Central and Outback Queensland tourism at an 'unfair' disadvantage.
INLAND and outback destinations have been “left behind” in a recent marketing move by the Australian Government, according to a local tourism coordinator.
Central Highlands Development Corporation Tourism Development Coordinator Paul Thompson said while he understood the move to promote cheap airfares, the competition between destinations was now an “unfair playing field”.
“The visitors that may well have driven up to our part of the world may take advantage of the cheap flights,” he said.
“We’re a dry market, we’re not a fly destination… that’s why I would rather see an inland opportunity for people rather than all the coastal stuff.
“It isn’t equitable across the tourism sector.”
The Australian Government last week announced its $1.2 billion aviation support package set to benefit the airlines, accommodations, hospitality, and tourism industries – however only in 13 chosen locations, and Outback Queensland was excluded.
The mix of half-price airline tickets, cheap loans for businesses and direct support to keep flights operational will start on April 1 for the Gold Coast, Cairns, the Whitsundays and Mackay regions (Proserpine and Hamilton Island), the Sunshine Coast, Lasseter and Alice Springs, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula, and Kangaroo Island.
“This is our ticket to recovery – 800,000 half-price airfares to get Australians travelling and supporting tourism operators, businesses, travel agents and airlines who continue to do it tough through COVID-19, while our international borders remain closed,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
However, Mr Thompson said while those responsible had good intentions, it was a let down for the rest of the nation.
“It really wasn’t thought out that well… I just wonder how much consultation they had with industry leaders about [selecting destinations],” he said.
Read the full story in The Highlands Leader, available from your local news retailer Friday March 19!