$80m tourism rescue plan a win for whale watchers
AS RAIN fell on Hervey Bay's whale watching fleet behind her, the Premier made an announcement that was sure to brighten the industry's day.
Commercial whale watching fees will be waived this year as part of a COVID-19 support package for tourism.
Whale watch operators throughout the state will save $6045 each, making for a saving of $110,000 industry wide.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the fee relief from the deck of the Hervey Bay Boat Club this morning.
Joined by Mayor George Seymour, Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons, and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe - with a guest appearance from Harvey the Whale - Ms Palaszczuk said the tourism industry was one of the hardest-hit by the crisis.
She said before coronavirus hit, about $500 million was spent each year through the region's tourism industry.
"We know that every little bit helps to keep businesses running and to keep Queenslanders in jobs so we're waiving the annual commercial whale watching fee of $6045 for local operators for the 2020 season," Ms Palaszczuk said.
She said the fee waiver was one of the tourism support measures under the $6 billion Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan.
Under the plan, more than $80 million has been committed to tourism, including the Queensland - You're Good to Go marketing campaign.
Mr Simons said the funding would give operators a boost after losing revenue during the COVID-19 shutdown.
"The government has been very proactive in the support of the Fraser Coast tourism industry and while recent school holiday visitor numbers were strong, marine touring products still face a challenging year ahead," he said.