Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared 2023 the Year of Accessible Tourism, announcing an investment of A$12 million to improve accessibility in the industry as the state prepares for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics .
The move is part of the state government’s ambitious tourism strategy, Towards Tourism 2032, which aims to more than double tourism spending in the state to over A$44 billion a year by 2032.
“This next decade to 2032 will be a defining period in Queensland’s history,” the Prime Minister said at the DestinationQ Forum on the Gold Coast.
“The Games will make Queensland a must-see global destination like never before.
“With ten years to go on the world stage for the greatest show in the world, we must be ready to present our state, our destinations, our unique experiences and our services to the world.”
Investment in tourism accessibility includes A$10 million to help small and medium-sized tourism businesses accommodate travelers with disabilities; A$1 million to raise awareness of accessibility needs and services; and A$1 million to promote accessible visitor experiences in the state.
“Almost one in five people has a disability and spends about $8 billion on tourism services each year,” the premier said.
“Dedicating 2023 to the Year of Accessible Tourism will drive change and create opportunities for the industry and travelers and create a legacy our state can be proud of.”
The Towards Tourism 2032 strategy is inspired by the Tourism Industry Reference Group’s Tourism Recovery Action Plan.
In addition to Palaszczuk’s announcement, Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said A$227 million will be committed for targeted action plan recommendations.
“Towards Tourism 2032 is about more interstate and international visitors enjoying our great Queensland lifestyle and supporting more good jobs in Queensland,” Hinchliffe said.
“We support over 60% of the Independent Reference Group’s 75 recommendations, some have already been rolled out or are about to be rolled out, others will need further consideration and funding.”
Action plan recommendations already implemented by the government include the AU$200 million Aviation Investment Fund, the AU$15 million Tourism Experience Development Fund, the A$27 million Regional Tourism Boost and the A$3.2 million Great Barrier Reef Educational Experience Program.
“Together, these initiatives are making a huge difference by mobilizing up to $140 million in private investment in the tourism industry,” Hinchliffe said.
“Towards Tourism 2023 and the green and gold track to the 2032 Games are golden, one-of-a-kind opportunities to reshape Queensland’s visitor economy to welcome the world.”