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Government investment sowing seeds of change.

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT SOWING SEEDS OF CHANGE Tourism and agriculture businesses from Tropical North Queensland will be brought together for three days to showcase their products and find new business opportunities at an event coordinated by Southern Cross University.

The event is part of the Australian Government’s Tropical North Queensland Tourism Development Program announced in August 2008. The Program aims to assist Tropical North Queensland following the cancellation of some international flights to Cairns last year.

The three-day event at the Shangri-La Hotel in Cairns features 27 potential new and existing tourism operators from the agricultural sector in the Tropical North Queensland region. By bringing the two sectors together it is hoped that more produce will be sourced locally and more local food and wine tourism events will occur.

The event was attended by the Member for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour MP, on behalf of the Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP.

Minister Ferguson said: “The three-day event brings together food, agri and nature-based tourism operators with tourism stakeholders such as caterers and restaurants. It is a very important addition to the Tropical North Queensland Development Program.”

Mr Turnour said: “This event highlights the importance of tourism as a regional economic driver beyond expenditure on accommodation and transport. The fact is that when tourism expands, economies expand, especially in rural and regional Australia. The challenge is to broaden the knowledge of agri and tourism operators to maximise potential benefits from working more closely together. This is exactly what the event aims to do.”

“This program included three field days showing rural communities how they can capitalise on tourism to diversify farm income and five business development workshops which helped business operators to develop businesses and marketing plans.

“The program is breathing new life into regional tourism in North Queensland. Farmers who once never imagined they could develop a tourism income are discovering their potential appeal to both international and domestic visitors.

“Through this program the Australian Government has demonstrated to communities throughout Tropical North Queensland that tourism is not a niche industry - it is accessible to many business people looking to diversify into new markets.”

Media contact Michael Bradley (Ferguson) - 0420 371744

RET Minister > The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

10 Aug 2009

Page 1 of 1 Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

Belinda Featherstone (Turnour) - 0427 737 203