Tourism sector celebrates resilience and success
WHILE the tourism industry has been hit hard this year, it didn't stop operators from around the state from gathering for World Tourism Day, with one of Bundaberg's own providers opening up about how they have adapted to overcome the challenges.
To celebrate the resilience of the tourism sector, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) recently hosted a breakfast to mark World Tourism Day.
Despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for the industry, many operators have implemented innovative strategies to become more resilient, including Bundy's own Splitters Farm.
"We adapted our business model to an educational platform, providing live tours from the farm at 10am each day that gave home schooling parents the ability to tune in and engage with us on Facebook but also gave me an outlet to maintain a connection with our loyal followers while establishing new ones," owner of Splitters Farm Carly Clark said.
"While we attempted to keep the content upbeat, there were days that I shared posts about me eating ice-cream in the car with my kids after losing my job and I shared my fear of losing our rescue animals because we couldn't afford to feed them.
"This perhaps made it all the more relatable and authentic to those who were also at home navigating their own change of circumstances with kids and work."
With things gradually returning to normal, Ms Clark said the farm has now recommenced on-site tours while continuing to ensure social distancing measures are followed.
"We've since reopened our tours seven days a week but as a self-guided model with a welcome and safety briefing at set times so visitors still get to hear and understand our story but can move at their own pace and social distance appropriately," she said.
"This model currently allows me to work in the business full time and expand the park's accommodation, entertainment and events offering, in addition to running the farm."
QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the tourism industry was a huge driver for Queensland's economy but also made an important contribution to members of the community and their wellbeing.
"Our cultural life, our events, our heritage and even our guardianship of our natural wonders is supported by tourism activity and most of all, it is the lives and livelihood of the hundreds of thousands of workers in our industry that are at stake," Mr Gschwind said.
"It is those workers and the tourism business operators who had to step up during this devastating time and try to keep businesses afloat and plan for a disrupted future.
"Our industry will thrive again, the urge to travel is irrepressible and Queensland's operators are equally determined to bring out the best of what our state has to offer."
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the Palaszczuk Government would continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with operators to rebuild the industry for the future, with the Queensland Government focusing heavily on assisting the sector through the economic recovery strategy.
"Tourism is absolutely vital to Queensland's economy. I've seen first-hand how tourism operators have struggled throughout this pandemic," Ms Jones said.
"We're committed to supporting tourism businesses to get back on their feet in coming months (and) to date, the State Government has invested more than half-a-billion dollars to support struggling tourism operators right throughout the state."
A total of 150 people attended the tourism breakfast, where they heard from industry experts.