QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh will today convene critical talks in Sydney with national tourism leaders to assure them and their clients that Queensland is very much open for business despite dual natural disasters.
Ms Bligh said it was crucial to Queensland's tourism industry that major tour operators not only continued to encourage interstate and overseas bookings but help maintain those bookings that had already been made.
The Premier met today with representatives of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, the Australian Tourism Export Council, Jetset, the Business Events Council of Australia, the National Tourism Alliance, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and the Tourism and Transport Forum as well as tourism media representatives.
"This is an industry that supports 222,000 Queensland jobs and is worth $9.2 billion to our economy each year so it's crucial we do everything we can to protect it in light of what we have experienced over December and January and into February," Ms Bligh said.
"These are the leading industry players and today I will be urging them to reinforce the message that despite our devastating floods and despite Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi, we are very much open for business.
"Some of our internationally renowned and most popular holiday destinations including the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays region are ready to welcome guests despite the images from our natural disasters that have been flashed around the world.
"It's imperative we protect those bookings that are already made - particularly around the impending busy Easter period - and encourage visitors to keep on coming.
"Just days ago I was in Airlie Beach and I can confirm for anyone who's thinking of taking a holiday that this beautiful part of our state is very much alive and thriving."
The Bligh and Gillard Governments have committed $10 million in emergency tourism funding to spread the word that Queensland is open for business in key markets.
Tourism Queensland is working with Tourism Australia and other partners to put the finishing touches on a proposal about how to best spend the money to ensure that all parts of Queensland benefit.
While details of the funding activities are still being nutted out, the funding will be used to roll out intrastate, interstate and international marketing activity to assure potential travellers that Queensland is open and ready to welcome visitors.
The focus is on regaining visitors' confidence in Queensland as Australia's favourite destination for holidays, events and business travel.
There are also a range of planned campaigns that Tourism Queensland will continue to roll out above and beyond the $10 million support package.
A $400,000 Sunshine Coast and a $350,000 Whitsundays campaign have already started, and others will roll out in coming months, all carrying the "Queensland, ready to welcome you" tagline.
The best way to help Queensland's tourism industry is to book a Queensland holiday and come see us - next week, next month or sometime soon.
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