The start of the 2020s will deliver an expanded calendar of events throughout rural and regional Queensland, with opal fossicking, Indigenous experiences and a new desert dash to encourage tourists to go inland from coastal centres, interstate and abroad.
The tourism industry is offering more attractions for local holidaymakers during the coronavirus outbreak, so there are more reasons than ever to “holiday at home.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the third round of last year’s Year of Outback Tourism Events Program would fund 14 returning events and three new ones, to give more visitors a rewarding experience and help the local tourism industry withstand any downturn due to coronavirus.
“2020 is the Year of Indigenous Tourism, but for added value, we’re dovetailing and continuing to roll out events from last year’s record-breaking Year of Outback Tourism when more than one million tourists visited the bush,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The 2019 Year of Outback Tourism was an overwhelming success, so my Government has extended funding into this year with more than $606,000 provided to the 17 round three recipients.
“This June, experienced athletes and motivated newcomers will be drawn to the edge of the Simpson Desert for Australia’s latest ultra-marathon event – the Simpson Desert Ultra – taking on 20km, 42km, 80km and 160km tracks in the Diamantina Shire.
“Visitors will also be encouraged to head down the 1,000km South West Queensland Indigenous Cultural Trail for the biennial Bamba Gii Festival in September – complementing our Year of Indigenous Tourism.
“And in April, wine connoisseurs can stomp a path to the Easter in the Vines Festival in St George, which this year will coincide with the launch of the new South West Eventures program, promoting the south west region’s natural assets and attractions.”
As well as those three new events, Ms Palaszczuk said third round funding had also been allocated to several returning events, which are expanding and improving their offerings in 2020.
“The Birdsville Big Red Bash was one of the highlights of Queensland’s events calendar last year and I’m delighted the bash will return this winter, with the program supporting extensions to this much-loved music festival.
“Round Three will also support Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, which this year will embrace the theme ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, celebrating Australia’s love of travel, while honouring the 100th anniversary of Queensland icon Qantas.
“Whether our guests want to rub-shoulders with cowboys at the Cunnamulla Fella Festival, fossick for opals at the Bash Break on Brolga Fest or tee-off at the second Outback Queensland Masters, we’re supporting an outstanding array of events to grow the outback’s $350 million tourism sector.
“It has never been more important – or attractive – than now to holiday at home.”
More than $2.2 million from the $3 million Year of Outback Tourism Events Program has now been allocated in rounds one, two and three.
The final round four is also now open, for events to be delivered prior to 31 December 2020.
Applications for round four close on 16 March 2020, with successful applicants to be announced in May 2020.
The Outback Tourism events integrate with the Year of Indigenous Tourism which will further promote, expand and develop Queensland’s unique indigenous tourism attractions and events as the year goes on.
That includes a $10 million Indigenous Tourism Fund to grow the industry and to support new jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.