Visitors at Mon Repos.
Visitors at Mon Repos. Mike Knott BUN121216TURTLE6

Labor and LNP argue over Bundy tourism figures

STEPHEN Bennett is accusing Labor of destroying Bundaberg's tourism industry while missing out on a golden era of growth.

He claims tourist numbers have dwindled since Labor took office.

But Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson has questioned where the Burnett MP has been living, saying tourism numbers were up.

Tourism and Events Queensland data shows in the year ending June this year, domestic overnight visitation to the Southern Great Barrier Reef region grew 6.5% to two million visitors while interstate visitation declined 4.5% to 240,000.

International visitation to the region increased 10% to 148,000, but visitors were staying for shorter periods of time leading to a 6.3% decline in international visitor expenditure.

Mr Bennett said if elected, the LNP's See Queensland campaign would see $2 million invested in Wide Bay.

"We want to inject $2 million locally and $9.5 million across the state to make sure the RTOs and service providers of this region can start to get tourism numbers back.

"We have to make Bundaberg and Fraser Coast the destination of choice for Southeast Queensland.”

Ms Donaldson refuted Mr Bennett's claims and said it was her government that had secured a cruise ship to Bundy next year as well as investing $10 million into the redevelopment of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre.

"Remember, (the LNP) ripped $188 million from the tourism budget,” she said.

"A re-elected Palaszczuk Government will introduce a new and expanded $48 million attracting tourism fund.”

In September, Federal Hinkler MP Keith Pitt was spruiking the National Visitor Survey, which showed 556,000 Australian tourists visited Bundy - an increase of 13% from the previous 12 months.

"There are 3380 local tourism jobs in Hinkler that are supported by these visitors, so it's great to see such strong visitor numbers supporting our economy,” he said at the time.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager Katherine Reid said a thriving local tourism industry not only created jobs, but long-term tourism career opportunities.

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