Sunshine State puts southerners in the shade
VICTORIA rates itself as Australia's events, cuisine and culture capital, but the Sunshine State has put those smug southerners in the shade when it comes to overall tourism industry performance.
New figures out today reveal Queensland has for the first time eclipsed Victoria as Australia's second-best-performing state in tourism earnings and job creation, behind New South Wales.
The State Tourism Satellite Accounts show tourism's contribution to Queensland's gross state product surged 7.2 per cent to $27.3 billion in 2017-18, while the number of tourism jobs increased 6.2 per cent to 235,900.
Victoria recorded a 6.9 per cent rise in tourism GSP to $26.7 billion and a 5.9 per cent growth in tourism industry employment to 232,700 jobs.
Tourism's value to NSW was $35.6 billion, up 6.3 per cent. Just over 278,000 people were employed in the NSW tourism sector, a 5.2 per cent increase.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the figures highlighted tourism as one of Queensland's major economic pillars, accounting for almost 8 per cent of gross state product.
More than 30,000 tourism jobs had been created in Queensland since 2015, and the tourism industry now employed one in 10 Queenslanders - the largest share of any state.
"That's more people than the mining and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries combined," Ms Jones said.
"The 2017-18 results include the economic benefit of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. We'll continue to see that benefit in the years to come.
"We've also doubled the value of our events calendar since forming government - now worth $800 million to our economy."
The Fortitude Brewing Co. on Tamborine Mountain is one of the state's tourism businesses enjoying boom times.
The boutique brewery's cellar door manager, Trish Kimber, said she was continually hiring extra staff as increasing numbers of visitors flocked to the mountain.
"I'm astounded by the growth since we opened in 2012," she said.
"We've gone from needing seven staff on weekends to about a dozen. We used to employ two people in the kitchen but we need six now on busy days.
"We're going to be packed for the Ekka show holiday."