Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (12.31 am): I rise to congratulate the 584 business partners, the scores of volunteers, the board and the staff of Tourism Noosa. Tourism Noosa is an organisation which consistently achieves extraordinary outcomes and compares well with other similar bodies far larger and with far greater financial backing.
According to statistics from Tourism Research Australia, TRA, which is the only tourism data provider which all tourism bodies can access, at the end of the 2015 financial year Noosa's inbound visitor numbers increased by 18.8 per cent. The data showed a fourth consecutive quarter's growth in international visitor numbers, with Noosa now accounting for 80.6 per cent of all international spend on the Sunshine Coast. Noosa's domestic market also surged, according to the latest research, with interstate travel increasing by 22 per cent. The results from Melbourne were particularly strong with numbers up 51.3 per cent.
These results are achieved by creative thinking and hard work, which included a significant winter campaign in the high-yielding interstate markets of Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. As well, Tourism Noosa developed and implemented the Welcome to Noosa project—an online education program aimed at revitalising and re-energising the destination Noosa experience. This program offers training courses to anyone in the hospitality area. It provides operators and employees with an understanding of Noosa and results in friendly, well-educated staff who value-add to a visitor's experience.
Tourism Noosa has already implemented two more modules into the Welcome to Noosa program, with the recent addition of the Eco Check module and the launch next week of Noosa's youth ambassadors, an initiative which I am very proud to sponsor. The Eco Check program assists business in adopting environmentally friendly practices which support Noosa's goal in being a sustainable and healthy environment. Our youth ambassadors are students from Sunshine Beach State High School who have completed the Welcome to Noosa education program. During the school holidays they will be roving spokespeople, welcoming tourists, answering visitors' questions and being great young representatives of our vibrant community.
The Welcome to Noosa program has been so successful that it has now been recognised as a key aid in achieving growth through tourism and, at the request of the department of tourism, Tourism Noosa has developed a `Welcome to' program now planned for use across the state of Queensland.
Mr Speaker, for you, who I know lives very close, and all of my other colleagues in the House, I will table the organisation's activity report which illustrates the professionalism of Tourism Noosa. I say to all of my parliamentary colleagues, that they are more than welcome to visit Noosa anytime.
Tabled paper: Tourism Noosa Activity Report 2014-2015.