May 11, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio

If you think tourism and business events are on the election back-burner, Queensland attraction Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome is letting its favourite big croc, Goliath, loose on the 2022 federal election.

It hosted a “Croc Poll” yesterday to predict the election outcome and to put the spotlight on issues that matter to the visitor economy.

As part of an ongoing campaign to elevate the recovery of Australia’s export tourism industry during the federal election, Far North Queensland tourism businesses invited the Liberal and Labor candidates to see and hear about the challenges being faced by the industry.

As a media stunt, it helped to get some attention for an industry which was deeply impacted by nearly two years of international border closures.

“Australia’s international border closures had an immeasurable impact on our export tourism industry, and Cairns is probably the most affected region in the entire country,” said Ben Woodward, Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Board member and director of sales and marketing for CaPTA Group, which operates Cairns Zoom.

“Our industry is calling on political parties to make commitments to reasonable measures which will support the industry to get back on its feet and rebuild our international visitor markets.

“ATEC’s ‘it’s time for tourism’ campaign highlights some important policy investments we want each party to commit to in supporting the restart for Australian export tourism businesses.”

ATEC’s #itstimefortourism: Recover, Rebuild, Regrow paper outlines key supports, investments and policy considerations which the industry is calling on political parties to endorse, with the four pillars comprising:

  • increasing funding for Tourism Australia, extra funding and better targeting of the EMDG program, visa innovation and subsidies for businesses to attend trade events
  • extension of the working holiday maker fee waiver program, investing in tour guide training and GoWithTourism and more flexible student visas to allow longer working hours
  • launching programs to support training and capability building, Indigenous product development and building regional capacity
  • developing innovations for payment processes, promoting leading edge business practices, itinerary development and sustainability

ATEC has been an active and strong campaigner for the tourism industry especially the export sector which includes many operators that service the international business events market.

The latest pitch using the “Croc Poll” as an attention-drawing strategy was pitched at federal Liberal member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch and Labor candidate, Elida Faith.