July 14, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

One of the nation’s most respected peak body leaders, Daniel Gschwind, CEO of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council wants National Cabinet to consider matters affecting the tourism industry.

Gschwind is becoming increasingly concerned about the enduring and long-term impact of shutting down the travel industry and people not being able to come together.

He says that even though we are 18 months into the pandemic, the federal government only recently announced a four-point recovery strategy – which while welcomed, is lacking in detail especially actions and responsibilities clearly assigned.

“How do we drive this agenda, or strategy or plan given the overwhelming impact of this crisis?” he says, adding that there needs to be more clarity and the National Cabinet should be addressing this.

He points to the difficulties of a quarantine system that is “manifestly not fit for purpose” as well as the need to resolve vaccine supply and distribution shortcomings.

These are seminal to the next critical stage for our sector’s rebuild – as is the ability for people to come together through opened borders and travel.

“Coming together” is part of the very fabric of this country and our connections to the rest of the world support the country in so many ways, he says.  Community life, social life and economic life in Australia depend on it.

“The country has to thrive on our interactions, if we cut off the blood flow, we will have consequences that will be hard to remedy.”

Gschwind fears the latest COVID outbreak in Sydney will further delay policy makers in acting on a broader recovery plan.

He says policy makers are potentially in a “comfort bubble’ and everyone has been shocked into retreat.

On the government’s current positions, he stresses the need for a recalibration of thinking and policy settings.

“It’s politically difficult to take steps, but governments have to make a difference,” or else he fears it will be years before we get through this crisis.

Gschwind is an economist – he’s known for his sound, evidence-based advocacy. He’s been at the helm of a highly effective tourism peak body for two decades and has been called on by governments in Queensland and nationally over many years to provide wise counsel throughout all stages of the growth of Australia’s visitor economy.

He’s been on the frontline of policy planning and strategy development in good times and bad – including rebuilding after floods and cyclones, SARS and the GFC just to name a few.

He doesn’t stand still when it comes to sorting things out.

He’s rational and action focussed – hence his frustration at the lack of a clear roadmap for the rebuilding of Australia’s visitor economy.

But Gschwind won’t down tools – he’ll never give up fighting for our industry, as hard as the current situation is. He’s tenacious and keeps pushing through, commentating, advising, cajoling, encouraging and producing the goods on why the political and administrative arms of government must do better.