QTIC Industry Transformation Forum

On 16th March, QTIC (Qld Tourism Industry Council) held an Industry Transformation Forum in Toowoomba, facilitated by Mark Olsen of Earthcheck. Held in the most difficult to find venue on the planet, David Cottage at University of Southern Qld (not even USQ staff know where it is located), the forum was packed with industry representatives all engaged and ready to discuss how QTIC can achieve the best outcome for the industry around industry structure, industry development, capability- and capacity-building, and marketing.

Image: QTIC

Image: QTIC

In the previous 2012 DestinationQ forum, feedback from the industry indicated that there are opportunities to find new ways to work together to suit a dynamic and ever evolving environment.

Traditional membership models had been identified as overcomplicated and current resources, including government investment, for collaborative work may not provide the sufficient means to maintain Queensland’s competitive edge.

Firstly, the forum allowed for open discussion on what the industry structure should look like. Mark gave some definitions around LTOs within Queensland:

* Networking Group – relaxed, fluffy group that is all about ‘getting to know each other’
* Membership Model – engaged group with reciprocal arrangements with the RTO. 50% of these groups are doing their own thing without collaboration with the wider region
* LTO – ‘get me out of my RTO’. This group is aggressively outdoing their RTO

FACT: less than 10% of operators participate with their RTO

Ideas were thrown around about if the structure could be improved, removing the ‘borders’ surrounding RTOs or reducing the number of RTOs. Many operators in the room gave positive feedback about Southern Queensland Country Tourism as their RTO but identified that simplifying this for the consumer should be explored.

Secondly, funding options for RTO’s were discussed. Mark opened the discussion with the following statistics.

LTO’s are generally funded in the following ways:
* 80% by government
* 20% by their own revenue stream

Operators in the room very clearly identified that less reliance on government is the future of the industry. As part of this discussion, the suggestion of a Tourism Tax was identified. However, a representative from the government was in attendance and advised that Hon. Kate Jones, Minister for Tourism has taken this option off the table and will not be considered an option in Queensland at this stage. While this was the case, many operators indicated that it would be great to discuss this further as a way to develop independence from government changes and budgeting.

Nine forums were held across the state, where the feedback from the discussions will be provided to an independently led consultative committee. This will then provide the QTIC board with recommendations and strategies with a set of key recommendations and strategies that can guide the path forward.

Kushla GaleComment