Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared 2019 The Year of Outback Tourism.
“The best Christmas present the Outback can get is rain,” the Premier said.
“We can’t make it rain but we can fill those hotel rooms and camping grounds with tourists.
“Every year the bush comes to the city for the Ekka. Next year, let’s return the favour and have a great holiday at the same time out west.
A $3 million campaign will show off all that the Queensland Outback has to offer.
The Premier said this money would give councils, community groups and businesses help to establish new events and really throw out the welcome mat to tourists.
“In Winton, you can dig up a dinosaur bone and see the brand new high tech Waltzing Matilda centre bring our national song to life,” the Premier said.
“Lawn Hill is an oasis in the desert.
“There’s the Tree of Knowledge at Barcaldine to name just a few.
“You can walk through historic planes at the birthplace of Qantas just up the road in Longreach but the Outback is not just about its attractions.
“It’s the landscape, it’s the stars at night, it’s the people and their amazing hospitality.
“Two things I can guarantee about an Outback holiday: you won’t come home hungry and you’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner.”
In addition, a $10 million Queensland Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund has been announced for 15 new Outback Tourism projects including luxury glamping, five-star artesian baths, a glass-floored bridge across Cobbold Gorge and a new home for Australia’s biggest fossil: Cooper the dinosaur.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said it’s all within easy reach.
“It’s as easy as a roadtrip in the family car but there are also rail and other packages that will open up this fantastic part of our country,” the Minister said.
“Hopefully, when you’re catching up with friends and family over Christmas you talk about an Outback adventure for 2019.”
The Premier said her government had invested in Outback tourism more than any other.
“More tourists than ever before are travelling to Outback Queensland and for the first time, we expect to crack one million visitors in 2019 – that’s more than 13 percent growth year-on-year,” she said. “We want to make the most of this fast-growing interest in the outback and we know the Year of Outback Tourism will do just that.”
Grants from $1000 up to $100,000 will be available for events promoters, local governments, community and festival organisations, and local businesses to help throw out the biggest welcome mat the Outback’s ever had.
It will support the likes of our already great festivals, food and wine events, conferences, and unique regional events, art and cultural performances and installations to promote a regional area.
Applications for funding open early next year with the program to start from April 2019 and extend into 2020.
“It’s part of our commitment to invest in new tourism attractions and events right throughout the outback and our various regions that will generate millions of dollars in years to come,” Ms Jones said
A revamped calendar of events in West Queensland has also been launched to coincide with the Year of Outback Tourism. The Outback event calendar in 2019 includes:
- Julia Creek Dirt n’ Dust Festival, 12 – 14 April
- Roma’s Easter in the Country, 18 – 22 April
- 2019 Glencore Great Western Games, 22 – 30 June
- Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, 28 June – 6 July
- Birdsville Big Red Bash, 9 – 11 July
- Mount Isa Mines Rodeo, 9 – 11 August
- Cobb & Co Festival (Surat Basin), 23 – 25 August
“Outback Queensland has something for everyone – from rich Indigenous cultural experiences to some of the world’s rarest dinosaur bones and some of the most picturesque landscapes on the globe,” Ms Jones said.
“We’re delivering the infrastructure and major events needed to grow this industry.
The Year of Outback Tourism campaign is all about selling these experiences.
“Tourism is already worth more than $350 million and supports 3700 jobs in Outback Queensland.
“We’re working with locals on a strategy that will see these numbers continue to grow in years to come and create sustainable jobs for people in the Outback.”