Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared 2023 to be the Year of Accessible Tourism, announcing a AU$12 million investment to improve accessibility in the industry as the state gears up for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The move is part of the state government’s ambitious tourism strategy, Towards Tourism 2032, which aims to more than double the state’s tourism overnight expenditure to more than AU$44 billion a year by 2032.

“This next decade to 2032 is going to be a defining time in Queensland’s history,” the Premier said at the DestinationQ Forum on the Gold Coast.

“The Games will elevate Queensland as a must-see, global destination like never before.

“With ten years to go until we step out on the global stage for the biggest show in the world, we must be ready to showcase our state, our destinations, our unique experiences and services to the world.”

The investment in tourism accessibility includes AU$10 million to support small to medium tourism businesses to accommodate travellers with an impairment; AU$1 million to raise awareness of accessibility needs and services; and AU$1 million to promote the state’s accessible visitor experiences.  

“Almost one-in-five people have a disability and spend about $8 billion on tourism services annually,” the Premier said.

“Dedicating 2023 to The Year of Accessible Tourism will drive change and create opportunities for both industry and travellers and create a legacy our State can be proud of.”

year Towards Tourism 2032 strategy was inspired by the Tourism Industry Reference Panel’s Action Plan for Tourism Recovery.

In addition to Palaszczuk’s announcement, Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said AU$227 million will be committed to targeted Action Plan recommendations.

“Towards Tourism 2032 is about more interstate and international visitors enjoying our great Queensland lifestyle and supporting more good Queensland jobs,” Hinchliffe said.

“We’re backing more than 60 per cent of the independent Reference Panel’s 75 recommendations, some have already rolled out or are about to launch, others will need further consideration and funding.”

Action Plan recommendations already acted on by government include the AU$200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, AU$15 million Tourism Experience Development Fund, AU$27 million Regional Tourism Recovery Program, and the AU$3.2 Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program.

“Together, these initiatives are making an enormous difference by leveraging up to $140 million in private tourism industry investment,” Hinchliffe said.

“Towards Tourism 2023 and the green and gold runway to the 2032 Games are golden, once-in-a-generation opportunities to reshape Queensland’s visitor economy to welcome the world.”