DRAWCARD: Snorkelling off Heron Island is popular with tourists.
DRAWCARD: Snorkelling off Heron Island is popular with tourists. James Vodicka

Tourism driving Southern Great Barrier Reef economy

THE Southern Great Barrier Reef tourism industry has recorded strong growth in the last year, with new data showing the sector now employs about 12,400 people and injects about $1.2 billion into the local economy.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Tourism Research Australia Satellite Account data for 2016-17 showed 6.4 per cent growth in the number of people employed in tourism in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region and 7.7 per cent growth in gross regional product.

"Tourism is one of Gladstone's most important industries," he said.

"I'm proud to say tourism is now worth $1.2 billion a year to our region and employs about 12,400 people.

"This data is proof that we're on the right track. But I know we can create more jobs in this sector over the next few years.

"That's why I'm working with Gladstone tourism operators to grow this industry."

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said tourism was an important part of the Queensland Government's strategy to strengthen the state's economy over the next three years.

"This data is a great result for Gladstone," she said.

"I'm looking forward to working with Glenn Butcher to make sure these numbers continue to grow over the next three years."

 

The second P&O cruise ship Pacific Jewel arrives in Gladstone, the ship has sailed from Sydney and has 2000 passengers onboard. Photo: Paul Braven / The Observer
The second P&O cruise ship Pacific Jewel arrives in Gladstone, the ship has sailed from Sydney and has 2000 passengers onboard. Photo: Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven GLA200316CRUISE

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited chief executive officer Darryl Branthwaite said the recent data encompassed GAPDL, Capricorn Enterprise and Bundaberg and North Burnett Tourism bodies.

"This partnership has been six or more years in the making, with the past three years seeing the strategic building of the SGBR brand, as well as the up-skilling of operators, promotion of experiences and collaboration across marketing within the state, nation and across the world," he said.

"Our experiences and natural encounters such as Lady Musgrave Island, Heron Island, Kroombit Tops, our harbour, gardens, beaches and fishing all contribute to making the Gladstone region pivotal and in the epicentre of the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

"The cruise ship industry has Gladstone firmly on its itineraries, with more than a dozen due to visit in the next 12 months."

Millions of dollars are being invested into East Shores to ensure that our "front door" for the cruise ships is the very best it can be.

"All of this leads to massive economic development within the region, resulting in more investment, more employment and more opportunity," Mr Branthwaite said.


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